It’s no secret that I adored my cousin, Ludwig II. Like me, he was shy. A dreamer with a big heart and a need to follow his vision. As a child he would build these fantastic block castles, and I, seven years his senior, would flop down on the floor beside him and together we invented the most marvelous adventures.
When he became king (at the mere age of 18), he was truly clueless. His whole life he’d spent in the company of women – enjoying “dress up” and making little skits. He had no idea how to rule, so he appointed various politicians to do all that boring stuff, and set to his true work: building a fairy tale castle.
Ludwig based the design of the “New Hohenschwangau Castle” on Christian kingship in the Middle Ages, and the new Versailles, recalling the aesthetic preferences the Bourbon King of France in its baroque-ness. The ultimate Nueschwanstein Castle was also inspired by the operas of Richard Wagner (whom he idolized and patronized–to the point of dedication of this very castle).
But, alas, my dear cousin never did get to see his fairy tale castle fully unveiled, as he died tragically before its completion. Another crazy genius, leaving the world a more interesting place than he found it.