"Ludwig Friedrich Wilhelm was born on Monday 25 August [1845] at 12.30 a.m. at Nymphenburg, in a room above that in which Max Josef I died. King Ludwig I was delighted that his grandson should have been born on his birthday, and at exactly the same hour. Besides Max [her husband] and his parents, Aunt von Leuchtenberg and Uncle and Aunt Eduard were in the room. King Ludwig I in his great joy embraced several persons of the household. A hundred-gun salute announced the birth in Munich, and Nymphenburg was decorated and illuminated.

The following day the child was baptized with great ceremony by Archbishop Gebsattel. King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia and Queen Elisabeth [the child's great-uncle and great-aunt] had arrived from Tegernsee the previous day; Adalbert, Max's younger brother, held the baptismal candle, and King Ludwig I the baby. The King of Prussia and King Otto of Greece [the child's uncle] were the godfathers; the latter was not present, nor was Papa. For the first few days the boy was called Otto; then the grandfather asked that the name might be changed to Ludwig, because he was born on his birthday. So now he is Ludwig."
Crown Princess Marie, mother of Ludwig (II)

King Ludwig II of Bavaria's younger brother was hence named Otto.

"Otto was beginning to show marked signs of the mental instability which was soon to reduce him to complete insanity; he now suffered periodically from melancholia, panic fears and fits of weeping. He had been briefly with the armies in France, but proving quite unfit to face the rigours of a campaign had been recalled 'to undertake more important duties'. The Prussian Crown Prince found him 'pale and ill; he sat before me shivering as with a fever while I explained to him that it was necessary for the Army and the diplomats to work together. I could not discover whether he grasped these matters, or even whether he was really listening.' In the absence of Ludwig there was inevitably a good deal of coming and going between Versailles and whatever castle the King had chosen to retreat to at any particular moment, and on 5 November Otto returned to Bavaria to report to his brother. Latterly Ludwig's thoughts had once again been turning to the possibility of his abdicating in favour of Otto; but when he looked at him he knew at once that this way of escape was no longer open to him. To his old governess, Frau von Leonrod, he wrote not long afterwards, 'It is really painful to see Otto in such a pitiful state, and he seems to grow worse every day.... He behaves like a madman, makes terrible faces, barks like a dog and sometimes says the most indecent things; and then again he is perfectly normal for a while. . . .'"
Wilfrid Blunt, The Dream King - Ludwig II of Bavaria

This page was first published at 1999.01.06 as page 104 of schizophrenia + architectures.



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