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King Ludwig II of Bavaria

picture of Ludwig

The story of King Ludwig II, also known as the the Mad King or the Swan King and “der Märchen König”.

Born in Nymphenburg Castle, Munich, in 1845, Ludwig II was a member of the Wittelsbach dynasty, and became king of Bavaria at the age of 18 after growing up in his parent's castle, Hohenschwangau.

Disillusioned after a lost war with the Prussians, Ludwig lost all interest in politics and became increasingly eccentric. He loved the theater and music, especially Richard Wagner's operas. He built three castles—Linderhof, Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee—at very great expense. Linderhof, the only one to be completed, was the king's favourite. Louis XIV became Ludwig's inspiration; his dream of absolute rule.

schloss Linderhof But his extravagance and near or actual insanity worried the Bavarian government. Ludwig was certified insane and a few days later on 13 June 1886 he and his physician were found drowned in Lake Starnberg (Starnberger See). It has never been ascertained whether this was an accident or an assassination.

schloss Hohenschangau

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