Tuesday, November 22, 2011

King Ludwig II, 125 years on

Shamefully, I somehow neglected to post in June about the 125th anniversary of the mysterious death of Bavaria's legendary King Ludwig II (1845-1886), which was commemorated on June 13 near the site of his death with a mass attended by Duke Franz and other members of the Bavarian royal family. So, prompted by a video about Neuschwanstein posted at my monarchist forum, I'll post about it now, as there is never a bad time to remember one of my favourite characters of royal history. To me Ludwig II is the epitome of why I love hereditary monarchy and its potential for elevating people who would never have become heads of state in any other system. It is impossible to imagine an eccentric lonely dreamer such as King Ludwig, in many ways ill suited to politics, winning a presidential election, yet 125 years later, his legacy continues to enrich Bavaria and the world incalculably in the form of magnificent castles (that have paid for themselves many times over in tourism) and the operas of Wagner, which almost certainly could not have been completed and produced without his romantic patronage.

It is encouraging and moving to see how many Bavarians still revere the memory of their "Märchenkönig." The Atlantic has a remarkable collection of beautiful large photos about King Ludwig, his castles, and the commemoration of his death. Bavarian monarchist sentiment (despicably suppressed by occupying Americans after World War II) is not unanimous; a few disrespectful republicans reportedly staged an "anti-monarchist swim" in Lake Starnberg, though the numbers of those honouring their beloved King seem to have been much larger. I salute those Bavarians who continue to keep traditional Bavarian culture & its Wittelsbach royal heritage alive and wish I could have been among them in June. Current prospects for restoration unfortunately appear slim, but we must never lose hope. Long live the Kingdom of Bavaria!

No comments: