by Jonathan Bavarian Perry
Born in 1845, Ludwig Friedrich Wilhelm became king of Bavaria (area of SE Germany) at age 18 upon the death of his father. Popular with the Bavarians because of his youth and good looks, Ludwig II was soon pressured to produce an heir (well, who isn’t?) and within a few short years became engaged to his cousin, Duchess Sophie of Bavaria, because royal inbreeding always gets a pass. Really, though, he was in love with his other cousin, Elisabeth, Sophie’s sis, which isn’t at all weird, but by this time Elisabeth was married and had become Empress of Austria.
Even so, Ludwig kept postponing the wedding to Sophie and finally called it off, much to the dismay and whispers of the Bavarians and the royal court. Ludwig would never marry, instead maintaining close ‘friendships’ with several men. Diary entries and personal letters suggest that Ludwig struggled with his sexual orientation throughout his life. So if you don’t want people to know the real dirt about you, don’t be loose with your diary and don’t blog (Ludwig didn’t blog, but I’m just saying… Also, a song from the musical could be called ‘The King Who Would Be Queen’.).
Ludwig’s brooding nature found an outlet in the works of the womanizing scoundrel-composer Richard Wagner, whose operas about German mythology and fantasy would later become a great inspiration to Adolph Hitler. Ludwig became Wagner’s primary benefactor and paid off a number of Wagner’s debts. Wagner’s personal problems and revolutionary leanings made him, and ultimately Ludwig, unpopular with the court.
In the meantime, Bavaria was swallowed up into the German empire, thus making Bavaria more of a state and less of a country (like what the EU is doing now with European countries). Avoiding politics, Ludwig withdrew further from the court and focused his attention on creating several fantastic castles which keep Bavarian tourism rolling in the dough to this day. Neuschwanstein is pretty awesome. Talk about your ultimate bachelor pad. They serve really good potato pancakes and apple sauce just down the hill. The other Ludwig castles are excellent as well.
Oh, all this castle building was expensive and put the country in debt, upsetting the nobility who sought a way to remove Ludwig from the monarchy. Ludwig was finally deposed as king on the grounds that he was mentally ill (maybe he was eccentric, depressed, gay, and bad with the country’s money, but mentally ill?) and the day after he was deposed and put in custody, his body was found in a small lake near one of the royal castles. The death was considered mysterious, with no one knowing for sure whether he died accidentally while trying to escape or if he was was killed or committed suicide.
(for comparison purposes, see my house in the previous post)
8 Things You Should Know About Ludwig
1. Became king at 18
2. Engaged to cousin, but called off the wedding
3. Never Married
4. Supported Wagner
5. Probably Gay
6. Built cool castles
7. Died young & mysteriously
8. Often referred to as Mad King Ludwig
Sign-Up with the Domesticated Bachelor through RSS or link to one of the buttons below! Do it!