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Ludwig II (1864-1886)
Compiled by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska

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Left: Portrait of Ludwig of Bavaria in 1866, at age 21.
Right: Elizabeth, Empress of Austria
Ludwig and Elizabeth were cousins and in 1867, Ludwig proposed marriage to Elizabeth's younger sister, Sophie, but they were never married.


Ludwig and Elizabeth's Tree showing their relationship

King Ludwig II was born Monday, August 25, 1845 at 12:30 a.m. at Nymphenburg. His full name was Ludwig Friedrich Wilhelm. His father was King Maximilian II and Princess Marie of Prussia. His grandfather was Ludwig I. He was baptized August 27, 1845 by the Archbishop Gebsattel, he died of suspicious circumstances on June 13, 1886 (at age 53).

Ludwig II was the ruler of Bavaria from 1864-1886. Ludwig was called the Fairy Tale King because of his love of things of the past and the mythology of Germany. In March 1864, when Ludwig ascended the throne, he was eighteen and one-half years old, with dark curly hair, blue eyes of slim build, tal (6"3") and handsome. He was also thought to have a charming radiant personality.

Later on, he was described as moody and introverted. He loved mythology, poetry, theater, the arts, architecture, and music (especialy the music of German composer Richard Wagner). Lohengrin and other text based on the old Teutonic sagas of Richard Wagner's operas were what attached Ludwig to Wagner's music. Ludwig was a romantic and what could be more romantic than the Middle Ages, with its courtly love, pomp, and art.

As a child Ludwig was said to have suffered hallucinations, but that was chalked up to his imagination, and was the mark of a creativity and brightness. At age fourteen, however, this was not considered as "normal." He was said to have heard imaginary voices. Porphyria, a mental disorder, was in his mother's lineage, but she was not afflicted. Max, his father, was "sane" but was very hard on the boys since he had an unbending personality. Max's sister, however, was often "confused." Ludwig began to go into his dream world because he was often locked up in his room or beaten by his father, which continued into adulthood. Thus Ludwig dreamed about a life that his father could NOT control. He was shy, hypersensitive, and dreamily romantic. It was said that the father often punished them by starving them or giving them small amounts of food when they would not do what they were told. Thus both he and his brother were thin as children.

Another one of Ludwig's favorite cousins was Princess Anna of Hesse Darmstaddt.


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This page is designed and updated by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska
Last updated on July 3, 2006.