Success and wealth mean nothing if you don’t have the people to back you up. Gaining enemies was once a quick way to lose your title, or worse when it came to history’s most powerful. There was no greater truth for Ludwig II of Bavaria, who fell victim to his own wealth.
Ruling Bavaria from 1864 until 1886, Ludwig II was responsible for the construction of some of the most impressive castles built in the region during the time. His life was filled with opulence and immense privilege and over the years, Ludwig built up a serious reputation for spending. Away from the riches and castles, however, the Bavarian leader was hiding a great many secrets and it was his mystery and intrigue that eventually led to his downfall.
Having taken refuge in one of his castles, Ludwig set out one evening for a walk, accompanied by a Dr. Gudden. When the leader hadn’t returned from his walk after a number of hours, however, staff at his estate began to worry and soon, a search party was sent out. After a sweeping search of the grounds, Ludwig was discovered floating in a patch of shallow water, dead. Officially ruled as a suicide, Ludwig’s death spread far and wide but over the years, a great deal of information has come to light to suggest it wasn’t all that it seemed to be.
Ludwig was the keeper of a huge number of personal secrets. Pressured to start a bloodline, the Bavarian leader put off a number of marriage proposals and over time, many took to believing that he was hiding his homosexuality from society. As well as this fact, his social life soon began to take a toll on his political position. Due to his focus on frippery and wealth, Ludwig lacked a real head for leadership, a fact for which he was increasingly criticized over his reign. Considering the replacement of the entire cabinet, Ludwig was put into the early phases of being removed from power by a number of angry politicians.
It just got worse, however, and before long, Ludwig’s family got involved. Due to his extreme lifestyle and lack of leadership, his family soon had him declared insane, established as unfit to rule the monarchy. Having found refuge in one of his castles, Ludwig tried to pick up the pieces but two days later, he was dead.
While his death was ruled as a suicide, the official autopsy carried out found no water in Ludwig’s lungs. As well as this, the leader was known to be a strong swimmer and was traversing in very shallow water. Dr. Gudden, who also died on the walk, exhibited signs of strangulation and had suffered from a heavy blow to the head. This information has led many to believe that Ludwig was murdered on his walk by his enemies, prevented from trying to regain control over his people. With Ludwig’s body quickly buried, the people soon moved on, however, and it is only now, centuries later, that ream details are coming to light.