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Bavarians mourn mysterious death of their Swan King

The Local · 13 Jun 2011, 15:28

Published: 13 Jun 2011 15:28 GMT+02:00

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The open-air memorial service was held near the cross that marks where Ludwig's body was found.

In his sermon, the priest Johannes Eckert paid tribute to the monarch's life. "He lived in a tension between idealism and reality," he said, before adding that Ludwig constantly yearned to find beauty in everything.

But not all Bavarians are so reverential to their erstwhile king. A satirical "anti-monarchist swim" was also due to be held in the lake on Monday.

On top of that, the secret society known as the Guglmänner announced their plans to hold a ceremony. The Guglmänner see themselves as protectors of the Bavarian monarchy and are largely responsible for the conspiracy theories surrounding Ludwig's death.

Ludwig II was found dead in shallow waters of the lake, along with a psychiatrist, on June 13, 1886. He had been declared unfit to rule a few days earlier by his government, apparently suffering from mental incapacity, thought to be clinical insanity – though this modern diagnosis has been disputed.

The official report returned a verdict of probable suicide, but conspiracy theorists believe he was shot.

Occasionally referred to as the Swan King, Ludwig is best known for his extravagance and fairytale obsessions, and was responsible for the construction of the spectacular Neuschwanstein palace, which remains one of Bavaria's most popular tourist attractions.

He was also a devoted patron of the composer Richard Wagner.

Story continues below…

DAPD/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:12 June 13, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
I thought his own people killed him because he spent all of the Kingdom of Bavaria's money building his elaborate castles?
18:33 June 13, 2011 by Gretl
And he was gay, and not providing an heir.
18:44 June 13, 2011 by MJMH
And you can thank him every time a tourist visits Bavaria. He put fairy tale castles on the map. I bet Bavaria has made more money off of him than he ever spent.
20:46 June 13, 2011 by Loth
If he were alive today I wonder if he would be a big name at the Bilderberg meetings?
09:19 June 14, 2011 by moistvelvet
Seems a bit futile mourning the death of someone who by now would be dead anyway, get over it.

The Neuschwanstein palace, wasn't it Chitty chitty bang bang that put it on the map :-p
22:39 June 14, 2011 by finanzdoktor
Too bad he didn't have an heir. Then, his future offspring could be earning an income from the royalities (no pun intended, but it fits nicely) for admission tickets to all the sites he constructed.
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