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Ludwig II of Bavaria

"Ludwig II" redirects here. For other uses, see Ludwig II (disambiguation).
Ludwig II
Ludwig II portrait by Gabriel Schachinger.
King of Bavaria
Reign 10 March 1864 – 13 June 1886
Predecessor Maximilian II
Successor Otto
Full name
Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm
House House of Wittelsbach
Father Maximilian II of Bavaria
Mother Marie of Prussia
Born 25 August 1845
Nymphenburg Palace
Died 13 June 1886 (aged 40)
Lake Starnberg
Burial St. Michael's Church, Munich
Religion Catholic

Ludwig II (Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm;[1] sometimes rendered as Louis II in English) (25 August 1845[2] – 13 June 1886) was King of Bavaria from 1864 until shortly before his death. He is sometimes called the Swan King (English) and der Märchenkönig, the Fairy tale King (German). Additional titles were Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Franconia and in Swabia.[3]

Ludwig is sometimes also called "Mad King Ludwig", though the accuracy of that label has been disputed. His younger brother, Otto, was certifiably insane, thus the claim of hereditary madness was convenient. Because Ludwig was deposed on grounds of mental incapacity without any medical examination, questions about the medical "diagnosis" remain controversial. Adding to the controversy are the mysterious circumstances under which he died. King Ludwig and the doctor assigned to him in captivity at Castle Berg on Lake Starnberg were both found dead in the lake in waist-high water (Ludwig was well-known to be a strong swimmer), the doctor with unexplained injuries to the head and shoulders on the morning of June 13, 1886. [4] One of his most quoted sayings was "I wish to remain an eternal enigma to myself and to others."[5]

Ludwig is best known as an eccentric whose legacy is intertwined with the history of art and architecture. He commissioned the construction of two extravagant palaces and a castle, the most famous being Neuschwanstein, and was a devoted patron of the composer Richard Wagner. King Ludwig is generally well-liked and even revered by many Bavarians today, many of whom note the irony of his supposed madness and the fact that his legacy of architecture and art and the tourist income they generate help to make Bavaria the richest state in Germany.

Lake Starnberg (German: Starnberger See), 25 kilometers southwest of Munich in southern Bavaria, is Germany's fifth largest freshwater lake and,[1] due to its large average depth, the second richest in water. It is also a popular recreation area for the nearby city of Munich and since 1976, one of the wetlands of international importance protected by the Ramsar Convention.

The small town of Berg, Upper Bavaria near Starnberg, is famous as the site where King Ludwig II of Bavaria was found dead in the lake in 1886. The lake is also known as Royal Lake. The lake is also cited in T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land.

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