10. Empress Elisabeth’s Cousin, King Ludwig II, Was Deposed for His Madness
King Ludwig II, also of the House of Wittelsbach, was known for being completely out of touch with reality. A century after Marie Antoinette of France (herself a Habsburg, who may have been spared some of the worst effects of inbreeding) was known for her excesses, and expensive tastes, King Ludwig II of Bavaria built grand, opulent palaces as a means of escaping reality. He was known for being mentally unstable and completely out of touch with the physical world around him.
When Ludwig was a child, his mother noted his penchant for dressing up and having a vivid imagination. When he ascended to the throne at the age of 18, he had no political experience but still possessed the vision of a little boy. To keep himself within the dream world that he had created, he became a personal patron of the composer Richard Wagner. In his world of grand palaces and artistic expression, he had all of the comforts of a king but carried out none of the responsibilities. Meanwhile, the government of Bavaria was struggling to run the state while controlling the king’s wastefulness.
When he was deposed and then murdered in 1886, his brother, Otto, ascended to the throne. However, a regent ruled in his place, as Otto was found to be even more deluded than Ludwig.
Age: 41 (1845-1886)
Birthplace: Nymphenburg Palace, Germany