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SYMHC Classics: Mad King Ludwig Dines Alone

2019-06-08 | 🔗

In this 2010 episode, previous hosts Katie and Sarah look at Ludwig II of Bavaria. From his opulent, solitary dinners to the amazing Neuschwanstein Castle, it's no surprise that King Ludwig II was known as an eccentric. In fact, people thought he was mad. But why?

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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everyone. Today we are going back to a frequent listener request that is led by the second of Bavaria, the eccentric monarch, who is sometimes nicknamed the mad king. This episode is from July of twenty ten featuring previous hosts Katy and Sarah, and they talk about how that nickname really a misnomer. Welcome, too, you missed in history class of production of Iheart Radios, Housetop works, hello and welcomed to the podcast. I'm Katie, Lambert and unfair, doubting today, work to start at episode with a housekeeping tip from King good, big, the second older of nice, Bernstein and patron of Wagner. Sarah take it from here are, though, you enjoy really opulent multi course dinners with your friends, but you don't want to the servants and footmen. Oh, I don't interrupting the changing of the courses interrupting the service. You shouldn't
stall, a trap door dinner table. So that way when you're done with your play or when Lui the fourteenth is done with his play. You simply press a button and then wait in your settings. Will descend into the floor and soon enough, the whole table will reappear, freshly laid out new food new plates and you can get back to entertaining your gas. That is eight true story, and it's no wonder that Ludovic is part of a popularly requested trio of topics the king himself, his castles and his composure and there's a lot of lovable weirdness here in this story, and some eccentricities plus some enormous building projects and bizarre royal families, which you know how much we love those and you know who knows we might even mention our most favorite theme of all, which are most loyal. Listeners will know what that is,
away, but up to start off we're gonna go for another common theme, which is sad, royal childhoods so living the second whose also known as Lui the second was blue, in Munich, at Nymph Winberg Palace on August, twenty fifth eighteen, forty five, which interesting does the same day and same hour that his grandfather namesake was born and he is a vittle Spock, a member of Europe's longest ruling dynasty. They ruled Bavaria continuously from one thousand one hundred and eighty to nineteen eighteen, which is when the last of their line, worse to abdicate at the end of world war, one an initially this family ruled as dukes and Duke electors, somewhere holy roman emperors, but
Eighteen, o six, their duchy is raised to a kingdom by Napoleon and they become kings max the first Ludwig the seconds great grandfather is the first little spot king, but living grandfather. King Leadville. The first is more famous for his womanizing than anything else and he's even decorated. The nymphs Burg Palace with portraits of all these gorgeous fatty women, it's called the gallery of beauty? Is you can still see it today? I liked author Michael, why described it as a room of high class pin up, but this is a pretty conservative state, so people would like their king took at least keep this discreet and he loses a completely when he meets Lola Montage, whose a beautiful Irishwoman whose party to be a spanish aristocrat she's, a trip we'll have to cover her in a later partiality remain
they have this very open relationship. People really don't like it and the king is forced to abdicate in favour of his son. Maximilian the second- and this is of course, Ludwig. This second spots So Maximilian is not a big fan of being a king. Now he would, rather be a professor study, he'd box and he's also not interested in his son. So this Gives you a little background on what Leadville childhood is gonna be like and his other Marie of Prussia, is exactly the opposite of her husband in every way, except one that she is also completely uninterested in her children and spends maybe an hour a day with them at the very most. She is, let and pretty and is proud to say that she's never read a book, so I don't think she can hang with us now, not at all. We
as they say, that living parents are cousins and that his family, aside from his parents being cousins, is severely inbred. Another thing to keep in mind as we go on so little Ludwig becomes heir to the throne at two and a half and life is pretty sad for a crown prince is lonely. He's neglected, he's also pampered, though, because every wish must be catered too and he's very and discipline and the birth of his brother. Otto only further splits, this view- limited Mirage enhancing, and especially this is bad when Otto starts to suffer from hallucinations and requires a lot more care and attention than Leadville himself and his childhood is Sarah points out is actually a lot like the palace. He was born in its very formal, its grand, but it's also isolated, and so perhaps it's no wonder that he turns to
a labyrinth, re imaginings of medieval architecture as an adult. But since architecture is such an important part of Leadville later life, we should go into a little more detail about his childhood architecture. He grows up around the Vittles box. Official home is in Munich, they don't spend, or at least Levick doesn't spend a terribly large amount of time there because being in Munich means work and business and treat do a lot of them. I know and living instead grows up at home and fungi, which is about forty miles. From Munich, and it was the palace built by his father and the walls. There are covered in murals of german legends and you can actually see these today. There are still there and These legends, along with biblical stories, really fuel, this poor lonely, young boys, imagination, so you're bored at home. You read the Bible
stories. Maybe you dress up like a none of this is what he does and are shy. Imagined to boy is also really obsessed with his own power. It's not all these sweet imaginative games. I one point he tries to strangle his younger brother and instead of apologizing. He says that Otto is this fossil and had disobeyed him and he steals from a shop and tells a governess. It doesn't matter because everything will belong to him some day. So very healthy mindset, folk becoming crown princes taller, was obviously the first major event in living life really shaping hooey became in his future, but the second major event in his life is his discovery of reach,
your Bognor at age, thirteen and I'm really tempted to talk more about the composer in a later episode, because he's really interesting and really controversial. But for now we're just gonna stay that lead big loved Bognor in caps on Matlin yeah. He wants to be vintners one night. He loved them music. He loves the big, elaborate theatrical sad and most of all, he loves the stuff. it is. After all, a lot of bargainers music is based on those same teutonic legends that lid vague, has literally grown up seeing around his bedroom walls. His imagination comes to life. In a moody teenager and arab moody, teenager became a moody king when his father died in eighteen, sixty four, possibly syphilis. This might be our other new theme and
eighteen year, old, Ludwig inherits the throne and he looks like a king he's very tall. He six for his slender. He has a thick curly black hair he's extremely handsome. He looks like what Prince charming should be. People go crazy when they see him during the funeral procession and he's: a romantic hero as well as the king, had it almost only helps that he's so moody and so bookish it. It adds to this the handsome brooding then exactly this episode of stuff. You miss than history classes, brought to you by W W, formerly wait waters. I have got some exciting news from them. W W has launched the new mind, I mean: have you programme its their most groundbreaking customize proven wait left land. I joined Debbie W
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really worried, and not only because living is spending so much money on this composer, but because led vague, really loves Bognor, like I'm loves, loves via direct affection. Yes, he writes in passionate letters and Varner whose smart enough to work is job returns and kind. Varner at the time is, of course, hooking up with his mistress and future wife. Quasi man was the daughter of France List and the woman largely responsible for later, creating the cult of Bognor, and once the team King told Bognor that he would give up his kingship and come live with him Bognor realized. Perhaps things have gone a little too far
I had to talk him down hides the woman in his bed and eventually the bavarian cabinet says that enough is enough, and vagueness kicked out after a year. We don't want another LE monde, TAT. Everybody, though moving on from this early infatuation led vague, seeks consolation in his best friend, who is this cousin Sis II, also the empress of Austria and she's a little out there to like a lot of the vessels box. She suffers from interacts Thea. She suffers from manic depression, but she really understands led vague and she understands the problems these bathing and is able to talk to him. You know they write letters to each other and suddenly he's engaged to hurl. It
Sister Sophie, and you might wonder how this extremely awkward young man comes together with this beautiful young woman and their apparent interest. Shared interests was Bognor, of course, and I feel like today they would meet on some sort of internet message board of our most attractive, and we Slovakia, we should probably get married, so they get their official photos made up. They plan the wedding and then he starts to get cold feet and he pushes back the wedding day. He asks his doctor to certify him as unfit to marry and finally, he tells Sophie that there is not the love which is necessary for a matrimonial union, so Burns Sophie, and that, of course is because he was probably gay and, in addition to his obsession with Bognor, his secret diaries disclosed
liaison with lots of actors, and maybe some military officers, and they were destroyed in world war two. But a lot of his inner turmoil seems to have come from guilty about his sexuality, because he was a devout catholic we're, but this is an all to say that Ludwig is totally isolated from Matters of state. At this point of what we ve described so far, might sound like somebody who isn't going to work every day, that isolation really comes later in eighteen, sixty six, he actually enters the seven weeks war on the side of Austria against pressure, but at the defeat of Austria he signs in alliance with pressure and works to reconcile these two big powers in Germany. So this alliance, with pressure, comes into play in eighteen, thirty, and he when there's a war against France and he sticks with pressure, avoiding a potential, Franco, Austrian Bavarian Alliance and pressure wines and
at the urging of Bismarck. Ludvig actually helps put out the call to all the other princes of Germany to unite into this german empire under the rule of the prussian king, who is from there on out known as the Kaiser, but what kind of disappointed with aspects of this new arrangement? It's not exactly what he'd hoped it would be. His territory is an expanded and he was as one of the king's who's, not the Kaiser. He doesn't have as much power as he liked and he thought there would maybe be some sort of sharing of the crown between his state and Prussia and that's not how it worked out. So he still king of Bavaria, but now it's just a state and not a kingdom and again he's a bit of a figurehead. So you know why bother he retreats into increased solitude, and what do you do when you don't really have a kingdom to run? You don't have your composure.
He'll live with an you really don't want to get married. You build your own Kublai Khan re or three of them, so little big bills, three castles and designs three more and they occupy him during his increasingly isolated life that starts in eighteen. Seventy seven from this point on he's, mostly alone, he dines alone. He goes to his theatrical. Performance is alone. He switches to this vampire, like nocturnal schedule where he gets up at five p m, but his first, major building project. He doesn't. He doesn't start off right away with a huge castle. He starts off with a remodeling project and that's redecorating, his father's castle and his child at home at Hollingford Gaol, and he must have caught a nice view from their because he starts to plan a bigger project which of course is no fun Stein across the lake, and this is seriously the dismal castle and while it's not
the most elaborate at his creations. It's definitely the most recognisable its a re. Imagining of what a medieval castle looks like with plenty of french row, cocoa and bavarian baroque thrown in and its planned by a theatrical design or not an architect and its basically involved, nor themed with Swan, shaped taps and an indoor grotto from Venusberg Thee, opening apparition and bargainers opera tannhauser in it takes seventeen years to construct is actually never finished and living only spends about six months. Their total all added up together. So the next place he builds is Lindore Hove, which is of homey, are sort of residence and it's about twelve miles from Neuschwannstein, and he built it between one thousand eight hundred and sixty nine and seventy eight, and it's actually modeled on trying on, though so not terribly homey to most,
still an elaborate palace. He really liked the bourbons, his coaches and his slaves were staffed by coachman dressed and Reproduction Lui, the fourteenth livery. He would spend about two weeks of every month at this house and had a harmonious set up for Bognor along with that disappearing table. We mention in the intro that it's here that he starts all the weird stuff waking up at five p m dining with his imaginary friends than going out for midnight carriage rides, as he agendas retreats more and more from society, but he he sticks with the vagueness, aim for this place to hinder half has the Venus Grotto, another Venus grotto imagined again from tannhauser, and he would run around in the man may lay down this gilded see. Shall you can look up pictures of those? We have pretty comparison
and today we decided that might be a better use of our time. The lake is actually illuminated by one of the various first power plant that is, who wants a dark, creepy cave made out of plaster and needs to have all these cool, blue and red lights, and also had a moorish pavilion with a peacock theme perfect four opium smoking if you're so inclined and hunting cabin with plenty of foe, would stumps and fake trees again Disney alert, miles and Jack from work. We recorded a pike has together in the modest, Ex thirty ass, you might remember how I've deadly remember. I want to take this opportunity just straight for in a straightforward way, talk to people about what the Mazda CS. Thirty looks like ok looks like it's constantly emotion. It has beautiful design like water built. That really mean like it's got its making way.
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dealer today, but his final big project was Haran Henze, which was constructed between one thousand eight hundred and seventy eight and one thousand eight hundred and eighty five, and this time he really honors the bourbons and even tries to upstage them, because the castle is a copy of their size. I only bigger and better Europe has an even grander hall of Meares, where he would read under the light of some DE nine candelabra, with one thousand eight hundred forty eight candles seems like you need a lot of servants for that or he would take a bath in this marble tub that took eight hours to heat and fear,
and would leave didn't mention this. Yet either the castle was built on an island in the middle of an alpine lake, very exclusive island, I would amount which you have a very exclusive violent. It's gonna make it harder to build two. If you have to row everything out too to the island in this castle is his downfall. Only twenty of the seventy rooms are finished. It cost more to build. The new fund, Stein and lender have together, and he only spends nine nights there so multiply the candles by night exactly through this makes us come to the court and how did Ludwig pay for all this, and initially he finance these castles himself. He saw himself as a modern sun king and accordingly, he thought he needed to celebrate this through the construction of castles through the hatred edge of artists such as Bognor and others. But it's
that long before he runs out of money. Obviously he starts to borrow and his own pay way way ahead. He tries It learns from the shock of I ran from the turkish sultan from the Duke of Westminster. He even orders his cabinet to find loans and is very threatening and forceful when they're coming up short and so by one thousand, eight hundred and eighty six he's being sued for dad, which is terribly embarrassing, and he has this harebrained plan to rob a London bank doesn't work out. So the government is starting to get seriously worried like it's our king, crazy, or is he just spending way too much money either way? This has got to stop here. Certainly lonely. He told an aide de camp. Sometimes I call one of
mastic servants or postilions and ask him to tell me about his home and his family. Otherwise, I would completely forget the art of speech and in his private journals, he appeals to dead rulers for help Lui the fourteenth Charles, the first of England. These are his friends and it's interesting a lot of stuff. I read about these castle than about led vague. Patently the tour guides refrain from calling him the mad king anymore, which has long been his nickname. It makes sense. It's not very nice thing to call someone sorry for using it in our title. Hang eccentric is more often used today, but his family definitely has some mental health issues. His brother, Otto we mentioned at the beginning, is schizophrenia and he's put into an asylum. His aunt Alexandra is put into a convent because she is
but if she swallowed a glass grand piano, but if let figures crazy, he's very lucid at times too, he writes these eloquent letters. He studies french history in literature and his ear politically astute when he actually engine tries. You know, he's not worrying about his castle, castles or his opera and actually gets to work well. His best friend, I think, says it best sissy and she said he is not mad enough to be locked up but to abnormal to manage comfortably in the world
reasonable people, so that's the assessment from the person who knew him better than anyone. So finally, the fiddles box worried that lipid would bankrupt their family. Go to the prime minister and say that, will you know we'd be okay! If you depose the king and sew a panel of doctors declare living insane without seeing him. It's kind of like the tabloids have life, and the noted psychiatrist DR been hard. If I'm gluten is one of these, and so on June. Tenth, one thousand eight hundred and eighty six Prince Leopold who is Ludvig's uncle, declares himself Prince Regent and auto, will be king officially out of the first and Liffick is at New schwanstein. When the delegation finally comes to arrest him and the soldiers and peasants try to stop them, try to save Ludwig, but he's let away he's taken to the Beatles Box. Castleburg witch
on Lake Sternberg and his attended, thereby the doktor and that's when things start to get kind of weird on June thirteenth, he asks to attend mass but is refused and later in the day after a huge meal lots of wine, he gets Doktor Gooden to walk along the lake with him, but they don't come back and a search party finds that the king has drowned face up, which is strange because he was a very good swimmer and he was only and four feet of water. Doktor Gooden is also debt, so what happened there. Obviously a lot of theories about this and the man assumption for many years, is that the king committed suicide because he had no future. He was essentially a prisoner and Doktor Gooden drowned, trying to save him. Others have suggested that he was perhaps trying to cross the lake to meet people sent by Sissy and
escape to Austria and escaped her and then other say he was murdered, maybe even that he was shot and not drowned at all, and we would probably no more, I feel if we opened his crept in Munich at Saint Michael's. All of the videos box are interred there and they have identical craps, but his stands out because it's always covered with flowers and he's still very popular, despite the fact that he nearly bankrupted his family has castles. today, among Bavaria's main attractions, who doesn't want to go, see the sleeping beauty. Cassio. Will an interesting laid? They started to become these major attraction. I think, within weeks after his death, people were paying to go to them though, in the long run, it's been a pretty good investment for Bavaria. Their lives
its own, memorial is far simpler than any of these castles, its across in the lake at the spot, where he drowned. But sir- and I were talking about it's always a strange for us to talk about these subjects, who are supposedly so well loved. We keep reading. You know the well loved so, and so, but we have no idea. How are these people, actually viewed in their own country. You yeah you're in Bavaria. Let us know what you think about led vague. It always is the little funny thing. Supposedly you people love this guy, but you know maybe not
it's easy enough to see, though, why he would be so well loved he's a gentle pacifist king, his extremely eccentric, but that only makes them more interesting and also always interesting, like we talked about in our emperor Norton Podcast, to try to diagnose people posthumously and figure out what sort of mental illness Ludovic was was grappling with any was in fact anything at all, and that's one of the reasons I think people are so interested in that and his gorgeous castle and this mysterious fate that we simply do not have an answer to bank is the much for joint action on the Saturday. If you have heard an email address or a Facebook euro, or something similar over the course of today's episode vote, that is from the archive that might be out of date. Now you can eat,
us at history, podcast at how stuff works, dot com and you can find us all over social media at missed in history, and you can subscribe to our shadow on Apple podcast, Google, podcast, the Iheart Radio APP and wherever else he listened, the bogged down MR history, glass in the production of ancient radios, housetop works for my hat I really hope, is it. I heard your guests or wherever you listened to your favorite shells, everybody. So this episode of sifted blow your mind is sponsored by the all New Mazda, see Ex thirty, which I actually just got to test, DR recently in the beautiful mountains of southern California,
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