Have I already mentioned how much I enjoy guest posts? And I’m sure you all might have noticed how much I enjoy “fun facts”? (Like did you know that the distance between the kneecaps on the Roland statue is an official measurement in the city of Bremen?) So when I got an email/post contribution from Susan Braun filled with King Ludwig II facts, I was THRILLED. Susan is a German History lover, a writer, and one time teacher, so it is only natural that she wrote a book for teens about “Mad” King Ludwig II called “Not So Happily Ever After: The Life of King Ludwig II“. It’s written in a very approachable style, and turns history into the kind of story that is engaging rather than difficult to get through. Perfect for teens or anyone who wants a light read about a fascinating character in German history.
Meanwhile… here are just enough facts to help you clear a Jeopardy category!
Fun Facts about King Ludwig II
First fun fact… if you call him “mad” people get MAD!
King Ludwig II Tomb is in St Michael’s Church in Munich
Ask most people about a famous German, and chances are that many of them will name “Mad” King Ludwig II of Bavaria. What makes Ludwig such hot stuff? Here are a few fun facts about the king.
- Ludwig was born August 25, 1845. Well, at least that’s the official version. There are reports that he was born the night of August 24, but his parents wanted the official birthday to be August 25, the date Ludwig’s grandfather (also named Ludwig) was born, so they fudged on the date.
- Ludwig was the Walt Disney of his day. He built the world’s most iconic castle, Neuschwanstein. But although it looks medieval, the castle was built in the 1870s. Ludwig was ahead of his times regarding his use of technology: he had a table created for himself that could be lowered and raised at the touch of a button, so he wouldn’t have to see servants during meals. He used one of Bavaria’s first power generators to create waves and multi-colored lights in his Venus Grotto on the grounds of another castle. But the king claimed not to care about technology for its own sake; he just liked the results.
- Personally, I’m not convinced Ludwig was actually insane. But he did have some odd habits. At Linderhof, one of his castles, there was a column he considered special. He stopped to kiss it each time he passed by it. This castle also contained a bust of his hero, Marie Antoinette. Each time he walked by, Ludwig would stroke Marie’s cheek and bow to her.
- Ludwig was very sensual — he was very affected by all things involving the senses. He was particularly moved by the music of composer Richard Wagner, and one of his favorite things was attending opera performances. He took in the costumes, stage sets, music, story, and all of it was almost more than he could handle. Observers reported him shaking in his seat with emotion, tears streaming down his face. He was definitely the kind of guy who’d cry over a Kleenex commercial.
- Ludwig’s most famous quote about himself — “I wish to forever remain an enigma, both to myself and to others” — came true at his death. How exactly did he die? At this point, we’ll never know. You can find out all the mysterious particulars in “Not So Happily Ever After: The Tale of King Ludwig II.”
- King Ludwig’s mysterious death– King Ludwig’s body, along with that of his psychiatrist, were found on June 13, 1886, floating in the Starnberger See, just south of Munich. The cause of death was officially declared death by drowning… despite him being a strong swimmer, and lack of water in the lungs.
- Ludwig’s Body is in St. Michael’s Church in Munich.- His coffin lies, surrounded by family, in an underground tomb. You may visit, and leave flowers, but you may not take photos inside.
Order Not So Happily Ever After: The Tale of King Ludwig II HERE
More about Susan Braun
Susan has been fascinated with Germany since childhood, when she observed her mom researching the family’s German roots on microfilm at the library. She included German instruction during the years she taught elementary school, and she has visited Germany twice. She has written a book about King Ludwig: Not So Happily Ever After: The Tale of King Ludwig II, and blogs at Girls in White Dresses. Susan lives in northeast Indiana with her husband and three young adult daughters.
Thank you again Susan for sharing these fun facts with us. I’m sure they will help people see Schloß Neuschwanstein and Schloß Herrenchiemsee with new respect.
Want to See King Ludwig II’s Castles?
Skip the Lines at Schloß Neuschwanstein!
Skipping the lines is well worth the extra cost. Crowds at the castle, especially in summertime, can get thick. Every ticket is timed, and there are limited numbers.
Take a tour from Munich, and see Schloss Neuschwanstein AND Schloss Linderhof