König Ludwig II
In 1864, at the age of 18˝, Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, son of
Maximilian II, ascended the Bavarian throne. The unusual lifestyle and passionate building
plans of the lonely king led to the creation of the "Fairytale King" Legend.
As a young prince, Ludwig came under the spell of the composer Richard
Wagner. After a
performance of Wagner's "Lohengrin" in the Munich Court Theatre in 1861, Ludwig
became devoted to Wagner's music, and this devotion was to lead to a life-long patronage
that was to ensure financial security for the rest of the composer's life.
||Life as a king was far from easy for Ludwig. His lonely
childhood, spent mostly in Hohenschwangau, had little prepared him for the adult world
where his word as king was important in determining the course of his country. His desire
for absolute monarchy came into conflict with the daily life of Munich court, and slowly
Ludwig withdrew into a world where he could realize his childhood fantasies - a world
reflected in the operatic works of Wagner; a world which gave birth to the castles
Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee. Ludwig tirelessly sought out venues for the
realization of his dreams. Up to his tragic and mysterious death in the Starnberger Lake
in 1886, he continually strove to create a world far away from the claustrophobic reality
of his own times.