So my latest book is out, “Not So Happily Ever After: The Tale of King Ludwig II.” It’s a look into the life of Mad King Ludwig for tweens, teens, adults, kids — basically, anyone who’d like to learn more about this marvelous monarch. What makes Ludwig such hot stuff? Here are a few fun facts about King Ludwig II.
- Ludwig was born August 25, 1845. Well, at least that’s the official version. There are reports that he was born the night of August 24, but his parents wanted the official birthday to be August 25, the date Ludwig’s grandfather (also named Ludwig) was born, so they fudged on the date.
- Ludwig was the Walt Disney of his day. He built the world’s most iconic castle, Neuschwanstein. But although it looks medieval, the castle was built in the 1870s. Ludwig was ahead of his times regarding his use of technology: he had a table created for himself that could be lowered and raised at the touch of a button, so he wouldn’t have to see servants during meals. He used one of Bavaria’s first power generators to create waves and multi-colored lights in his Venus Grotto on the grounds of another castle. But the king claimed not to care about technology for its own sake; he just liked the results.
- Personally, I’m not convinced Ludwig was actually insane. But he did have some odd habits. At Linderhof, one of his castles, there was a column he considered special. He stopped to kiss it each time he passed by it. This castle also contained a bust of his hero, Marie Antoinette. Each time he walked by, Ludwig would stroke Marie’s cheek and bow to her.
- Ludwig was very sensual — he was very affected by all things involving the senses. He was particularly moved by the music of composer Richard Wagner, and one of his favorite things was attending opera performances. He took in the costumes, stage sets, music, story, and all of it was almost more than he could handle. Observers reported him shaking in his seat with emotion, tears streaming down his face. He was definitely the kind of guy who’d cry over a Kleenex commercial.
- Ludwig’s most famous quote about himself — “I wish to forever remain an enigma, both to myself and to others” — came true at his death. How exactly did he die? At this point, we’ll never know. You can find out all the mysterious particulars in “Not So Happily Ever After: The Tale of King Ludwig II.”
Stay tuned for more about the mysterious mad king. In August, to coincide with Ludwig’s birthday, I’ll be hosting a blog tour of the book at several different sites.