Louis II, king of Bavaria

Louis II, 1845–86, king of Bavaria (1864–86), son and successor of King Maximilian II. Much was hoped from the handsome, talented, and liberal young prince at his accession, but his prodigality and eccentricity soon alienated his subjects. Louis was the patron and friend of Richard Wagner, who for many years exerted a strong influence over him. Louis aided Austria in the Austro-Prussian War (1866) but sided with Prussia against France in 1870, and in 1871 reluctantly joined the newly created German Empire. In 1886 his insanity necessitated his confinement at his château on Lake Starnberg, Bavaria, where he drowned himself. His brother, Otto I, who was insane, succeeded him under the regency of an uncle, Luitpold.

See biographies by W. Richter (1939, tr. 1954), D. Chapman-Huston (1955), and W. Blunt (1970).

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