Posts Tagged ‘madness of King Ludwig’





King Ludwig II of Bavaria was born in 1845, inherited the throne upon the death of his father Maximillian in 1864, engaged and almost married in 1867, declared ‘mad’ in June 1886 and found dead in the grounds of Castle Berg the very next day. He witnessed the growth of Prussia under Bismarck, war with France, the unification of Germany, lavished support on the composer Richard Wagner and drew up plans to build three castles, the romantic and ‘fairytale’ castle of Neuschwanstein being the most famous.

One of Germany’s top tourist attractions visited annually by over a million visitors Neuschwanstein Castle does not disappoint, even on a wet day when shrouded in cloud. Despite its romantic neo-gothic ‘fairytale’ exterior and lavishly decorated and art encrusted Wagnerian and Romanesque inspired interior, the castle was not completed and Ludwig’s visionary creation never fully realised.





Built from sandstone, red brick and limestone on the site of medieval fortifications, construction costs were met from the royal purse, albeit with additional loans taken out by Ludwig and later repaid by the family. Ludwig oversaw the building work and interior design, the detail coming from his love of the arts and effectively dedicated to the life and works of Richard Wagner.

Ludwig lived in the castle for 172 days, an increasingly embittered, withdrawn and shy figure, until his arrest at the castle in his bedchamber. Declared insane by the Bavarian government and a doctor who had never treated him and indeed met him only once some 12 years previously; the bodies of Ludwig and the doctor were discovered the following day at the water’s edge of Lake Starnberg after an evening stroll in the grounds of Berg Castle south of Munich. The official verdict is that Ludwig strangled the doctor before taking his own life, ‘suicide by drowning’. Unofficially it is ‘case not proven’ with many theories existing as to the actual demise of King Ludwig.





Words and photographs Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller

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