Munich Residenz, Residenzstraße 1, 80333 München, Germania
Neuschwanstein Castle, Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germania
Linderhof Palace, Linderhof 12, 82488 Ettal, Germania
Herrenchiemsee, 83209 Herrenchiemsee, Germania
St Michael, Neuhauser Str. 6, 80333 München, Germania
Ludwig II (25 August 1845 – 13 June 1886) was King of Bavaria from 1864 until his death in 1886. He is sometimes called the Swan King, Mad King Ludwig or der Märchenkönig ("the Fairy Tale King"). He also held the titles of Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Duke of Franconia, and Duke in Swabia.
He succeeded to the throne aged 18. Two years later Bavaria and Austria fought a war against Prussia, which they lost. However, in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 Bavaria sided with Prussia against France, and after the Prussian victory it became part of the new German Empire led by Prussia. Though Bavaria retained a degree of autonomy on some matters within the new German Reich, Ludwig increasingly withdrew from day-to-day affairs of state in favour of extravagant artistic and architectural projects. He commissioned the construction of two lavish palaces and Neuschwanstein Castle, and he was a devoted patron of the composer Richard Wagner. Ludwig spent all his royal revenues (although not state funds) on these projects, borrowed extensively, and defied all attempts by his ministers to restrain him. This extravagance was used against him to declare him insane, an accusation which has since come under scrutiny. Today, his architectural and artistic legacy includes many of Bavaria's most important tourist attractions.
Ludwig never married, nor had any known mistresses. It is known from his diary (begun in the 1860s), private letters, and other surviving personal documents, that he had strong homosexual desires. He struggled all his life to suppress his sexual desires and remain true to his Roman Catholic faith. While homosexuality had not been punishable in Bavaria since 1813, the Unification of Germany in 1871 under Prussian hegemony changed this.
Throughout his reign, Ludwig had a succession of close friendships with men, including his chief equerry and Master of the Horse, Richard Hornig (1843–1911), Hungarian theater actor Josef Kainz, and courtier Alfons Weber (born c. 1862).
Ludwig's original diaries from 1869 onward were lost during World War II, and all that remain today are copies of entries made during the 1886 plot to depose him. Some earlier diaries have survived in the Geheimes Hausarchiv ("secret archives") in Munich, and extracts starting in 1858 were published by Evers in 1986.