Ludwig III of Bavaria
Ludwig III (January 7, 1845 – October 18, 1921) was the last King
- Centers of population :* King, Ontario, CanadaIn USA:* King, Indiana* King, North Carolina* King, Lincoln County, Wisconsin* King, Waupaca County, Wisconsin* King County, Washington- Moving-image works :Television:...

 of Bavaria
Kingdom of Bavaria
The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that existed from 1806 to 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1806 as Maximilian I Joseph. The monarchy would remain held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom's dissolution in 1918...

, reigning from 1913 to 1918.

Early life

Ludwig was born in Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, the eldest son of Prince Luitpold of Bavaria
Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria
Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria , was the de facto ruler of Bavaria from 1886 to 1912, due to the incapacity of his nephews, King Ludwig II and King Otto.-Early life:...

 and of his wife, Archduchess Augusta of Austria (daughter of Grand Duke Leopold II of Tuscany
Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Leopold II of Tuscany was the last reigning grand duke of Tuscany ....

). Hailing from Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, Augusta always spoke in Italian to her four children. Ludwig was named for his grandfather, King Ludwig I of Bavaria
Ludwig I of Bavaria
Ludwig I was a German king of Bavaria from 1825 until the 1848 revolutions in the German states.-Crown prince:...


Ludwig spent his first years living in the Electoral rooms of the Munich Residenz
Residenz, Munich
The Munich Residenz is the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs in the center of the city of Munich, Germany...

 and in the Wittelsbacher Palace. When he was ten years old, the family moved to the Leuchtenberg Palace.

In 1861 at the age of sixteen, Ludwig began his military career when his uncle, King Maximilian II of Bavaria
Maximilian II of Bavaria
Maximilian II of Bavaria was king of Bavaria from 1848 until 1864. He was son of Ludwig I of Bavaria and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.-Crown Prince:...

, gave him a commission as a lieutenant in the 6th Jägerbattalion. A year later he entered the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
The Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich , commonly known as the University of Munich or LMU, is a university in Munich, Germany...

 where he studied law and economics. When he was eighteen, he automatically became a member of the Senate of the Bavarian Legislature as a prince of the royal house.

In 1866, Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 was allied with the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 in the Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...

. Ludwig held the rank of Oberleutnant
Oberleutnant is a junior officer rank in the militaries of Germany, Switzerland and Austria. In the German Army, it dates from the early 19th century. Translated as "Senior Lieutenant", the rank is typically bestowed upon commissioned officers after five to six years of active duty...

; he was wounded at the Battle of Helmstedt
Helmstedt is a city located at the eastern edge of the German state of Lower Saxony. It is the capital of the District of Helmstedt. Helmstedt has 26,000 inhabitants . In former times the city was also called Helmstädt....

, taking a bullet in his thigh. He received the Knight's Cross 1st Class of the Bavarian Military Merit Order
Military Merit Order (Bavaria)
The Bavarian Military Merit Order was established on July 19, 1866 by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. It was the kingdom's main decoration for bravery and military merit for officers and higher-ranking officials. Civilians acting in support of the army were also made eligible for the decoration...

Marriage and children

In June 1867, Ludwig visited Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 to attend the funeral of his cousin, Archduchess Mathilda of Austria (daughter of his father's sister Princess Hildegarde of Bavaria). While there, Ludwig met Mathilde's eighteen-year-old step-cousin Maria Theresia, Archduchess of Austria-Este.

On February 20, 1868, at St. Augustine's Church
The Augustinian Church in Vienna is a parish church located on Josefsplatz, next to the Hofburg, the winter palace of the Habsburg dynasty in Vienna. Originally built in the 14th century as the parish church of the imperial court of the Habsburgs, the harmonious Gothic interior was added in the...

 in Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, Ludwig married Maria Theresa. She was the only daughter of the late Archduke Ferdinand Karl Viktor of Austria-Este
Archduke Ferdinand Karl Viktor of Austria-Este
Ferdinand Karl Viktor was Archduke of Austria-Este and Duke of Modena.-Biography:Born in Modena, he was the second son of Francis IV of Modena and his wife Maria Beatrice of Savoy...

 (1821–1849) and of his wife Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria
Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria
Elisabeth Franziska Maria, Archduchess of Austria, Princess of Hungary and Bohemia ....


Until 1862, Ludwig's uncle had reigned as King Otto I of Greece. Although Otto had been deposed, Ludwig was still in line of succession to the Greek throne. Had he ever succeeded, this would have required that he renounce his Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 faith and become Greek Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

. Maria Theresa's uncle, Duke Francis V of Modena, was a staunch Roman Catholic. He required that as part of the marriage agreement Ludwig renounce his rights to the throne of Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, and so ensure that his children would be raised Roman Catholic. In addition, the 1843 Greek Constitution forbade the Greek sovereign to be simultaneously ruler of another country. Consequently, Ludwig's younger brother Leopold technically succeeded upon their father's death to the rights of the deposed Otto I, King of Greece
Otto of Greece
Otto, Prince of Bavaria, then Othon, King of Greece was made the first modern King of Greece in 1832 under the Convention of London, whereby Greece became a new independent kingdom under the protection of the Great Powers .The second son of the philhellene King Ludwig I of Bavaria, Otto ascended...


By his marriage, Ludwig became a wealthy man. Maria Theresa had inherited large properties from her father. She owned the estate of Sárvár in Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 and the estate of Eiwanowitz in Moravia
Moravia is a historical region in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic, and one of the former Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Silesia. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region...

 (now Ivanovice na Hané
Ivanovice na Hané
Ivanovice na Hané is a town in the Czech Republic.- People :* Gustav Karpeles , Jewish writer* Andreas Nemetz , Moravian composer * Bedřich Antonín Wiedermann , organist, composer- External links :*...

 in the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

). The income from these estates enabled Ludwig to purchase an estate at Leutstetten in Bavaria. Over the years, Ludwig expanded the Leutstetten estate until it became one of the largest and most profitable in Bavaria. Ludwig was sometimes derided as Millibauer (dairy farmer) due to his interest in agriculture and farming.

Although they maintained a residence in Munich at the Leuchtenberg Palace, Ludwig and Maria Theresa lived mostly at Leutstetten. They had an extremely happy and devoted marriage which resulted in thirteen children:
  • Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria
    Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria
    Rupprecht or Rupert, Crown Prince of Bavaria was the last Bavarian Crown Prince.His full title was His Royal Highness Rupprecht Maria Luitpold Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Bavaria, Duke of Bavaria, of Franconia and in Swabia, Count Palatine of the Rhine...

  • Adelgunde Marie Auguste Therese, Princess of Bavaria
    Princess Adelgunde of Bavaria (1870–1958)
    Princess Adelgunde of Bavaria was a Princess of Bavaria by birth and Princess of Hohenzollern through her marriage to William, Prince of Hohenzollern...

     (1870–1958). Married Prince Wilhelm of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1864–1927).
  • Maria Ludwiga Theresia, Princess of Bavaria
    Princess Maria Ludwiga Theresia of Bavaria
    Princess Maria Ludwiga Theresia of Bavaria was a daughter of the final King of Bavaria, Ludwig III of Bavaria, and his wife Maria Theresia of Austria-Este...

     (1872–1954). Married Ferdinando Prince of the Two Sicilies, Duke of Calabria (1869–1960) and had issue.
  • Karl Maria Luitpold, Prince of Bavaria (1874–1927).
  • Franz Maria Luitpold, Prince of Bavaria
    Prince Franz of Bavaria
    Prince Franz of Bavaria was a member of the Bavarian Royal House of Wittelsbach and a Major General in the Bavarian Army.-Early life and Military career:...

     (1875–1957). Married Princess Isabella Antonie of Croÿ
    Princess Isabella Antonie of Croÿ
    Princess Isabella Antonie Eleonore Natalie Klementine of Croÿ, full German name: Isabella Antonie Eleonore Natalie Klementine, Prinzessin von Croÿ was a Princess of Croÿ and member of the House of Croÿ by birth and a Princess of Bavaria and member of...

     (1890–1982) and had issue.
  • Mathilde Marie Theresia Henriette Christine Luitpolda, Princess of Bavaria (1877–1906). Married Ludwig Gaston Klemens Maria, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
  • Wolfgang Maria Leopold, Prince of Bavaria (1879–1895)
  • Hildegarde Maria Christina Therese, Princess of Bavaria (1881–1948)
  • Notburga Karolina Maria Theresia, Princess of Bavaria (1883, lived only a few days)
  • Wiltrud Marie Alix, Princess of Bavaria (1884–1975). Married Wilhelm, Duke of Urach
    Mindaugas II of Lithuania
    Prince Wilhelm of Urach, Count of Württemberg, 2nd Duke of Urach was a German prince who was elected King of Lithuania with the regnal name Mindaugas II on 11 July 1918...

  • Helmtrud Marie Amalie, Princess of Bavaria (1886–1977).
  • Dietlinde Maria Theresia, Josepha Adelgunde Princess of Bavaria (1888–1889)
  • Gundelinde Maria Josepha, Princess of Bavaria (1891–1983). Married Johann Georg Count von Preysing-Lichtenegg-Moos (1887–1924), and had issue; her grandson Count Riprand von Arco-Zinneberg married 1980 at Chartres, the elder daughter of Robert, Archduke of Austria-Este
    Robert, Archduke of Austria-Este
    Robert, Archduke of Austria-Este, Prince Imperial of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary, Bohemia and Croatia , was born as the second son of Karl I, last Emperor of Austria-Hungary, and Zita of Bourbon-Parma.-Archduke of Austria-Este:On 16 April 1917, at the age of two, Robert was created Archduke of...


On the death of her uncle Francis in 1875, Maria Theresa became heir to his Jacobite
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 claim to the throne of England, and is called either Queen Mary IV and III or Queen Mary III by Jacobites.

Throughout his life, Ludwig took a great interest in agriculture. From 1868, he was the Honorary President of the Central Committee of the Bavarian Agricultural Society. He was also very interested in technology, particularly water power. In 1891 at his initiation, the Bavarian Canal Society was established. As a prince of the royal house he was automatically a member of the Senate of the Bavarian Legislature; there he was a great supporter of the direct right to vote.

Regent of Bavaria

On December 12, 1912, Ludwig's father Luitpold died. Luitpold had been an active participant in the deposing of his nephew, King Ludwig II of Bavaria, and had also acted as Prince Regent
Prince Regent
A prince regent is a prince who rules a monarchy as regent instead of a monarch, e.g., due to the Sovereign's incapacity or absence ....

 for his other nephew, King Otto of Bavaria
Otto of Bavaria
Otto , was King of Bavaria from 1886 to 1913. He was the son of Maximilian II and his wife, Marie of Prussia, and younger brother of Ludwig II...

. King Otto had been judged to be mentally incapable of ruling. Ludwig immediately succeeded his father as Prince Regent.
Almost immediately there were certain elements in the press and other groups in society which called for Ludwig to be installed as King of Bavaria instead of Prince Regent. The Bavarian Legislature was not, however, currently in session, and did not meet until September 29, 1913. On November 4, 1913, the Legislature amended the constitution of Bavaria to include a clause specifying that if a regency for reasons of incapacity had lasted for ten years with no expectation that the king would ever be able to reign, the regent could proclaim the end of the regency and the demise of the crown, with such action to be ratified by the Legislature. The amendment received broad party support in the Lower Chamber where it was carried by a vote of 122 in favour, and 27 against. In the Senate there were only six votes against the amendment. The next day, November 5, 1913, Ludwig announced to the Legislature the end of the regency and deposed his cousin King Otto. The Legislature recognised Ludwig as King Ludwig III of Bavaria.

King of Bavaria

Ludwig's short reign was conservative and influenced by the Catholic encyclical Rerum Novarum
Rerum Novarum
Rerum Novarum is an encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII on May 15, 1891. It was an open letter, passed to all Catholic bishops, that addressed the condition of the working classes. The encyclical is entitled: “Rights and Duties of Capital and Labour”...

. Prime Minister Georg von Hertling, appointed by Luitpold in 1912, remained in office.

At the outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 in 1914 Ludwig sent an official dispatch to Berlin to express Bavaria's solidarity. Later Ludwig even claimed annexations for Bavaria (Alsace and the city of Antwerp in Belgium, to receive an access to the sea). His hidden agenda was to maintain the balance of power between Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 and Bavaria within the German Empire after a victory.

A popularly accepted account holds that within a day or two after Germany's declaration of war, Ludwig received a petition from a 25-year-old Austrian, asking for permission to join the Bavarian Army. The petition was promptly granted, and Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 thereupon joined the Bavarian Army, eventually settling into the 16th Reserve Bavarian Infantry Regiment, where he served the remainder of the war.
In 1917, when Germany's situation had gradually worsened due to World War I, Hertling became German Chancellor and Prime Minister of Prussia and Otto Ritter von Dandl
Otto Ritter von Dandl
Otto Ritter von Dandl was the last Minister-President of the Kingdom of Bavaria.-Life:Otto Ritter von Dandl was born in Straubing, Lower Bavaria, in 1868, his parents being Georg Ritter von Dandl and Karoline Weninger. He studied law and graduated in 1890. He entered the Bavarian government...

 was made Minister of State of the Royal Household and of the Exterior and President of the Council of Ministers on November 11, 1917, a title equivalent to Prime Minister of Bavaria. Accused of showing blind loyalty to Prussia, Ludwig became increasingly unpopular during the war. As the war drew to a close, the German Revolution broke out in Bavaria. On November 7, 1918, Ludwig fled from the Residenz Palace in Munich with his family. He was the first of the monarchs in the German Empire to be deposed.

On November 12, 1918, Prime Minister Dandl went to Schloss Anif
Anif Palace
The Anif Palace, also known as Water Palace Anif, stands beside an artificial pond within the Austrian county of Anif at the southern edge of the city of Salzburg...

, near Salzburg
-Population development:In 1935, the population significantly increased when Salzburg absorbed adjacent municipalities. After World War II, numerous refugees found a new home in the city. New residential space was created for American soldiers of the postwar Occupation, and could be used for...

, to see the King and obtain what is known as the Anifer Erklärung (Anif declaration
Anif declaration
The Anif declaration , issued by the Bavarian king Ludwig III on 12 November 1918 at Anif Palace, Austria, ended the 738-year rule of the House of Wittelsbach in Bavaria.-Historical background:...

) in which the King released all government officials, soldiers and civil officers from their oath to him, but made no declaration of resignation.
The newly-formed republican government of Kurt Eisner
Kurt Eisner
Kurt Eisner was a Bavarian politician and journalist. As a German socialist journalist and statesman, he organized the Socialist Revolution that overthrew the Wittelsbach monarchy in Bavaria in November 1918....

 interpreted this as an abdication
Abdication occurs when a monarch, such as a king or emperor, renounces his office.-Terminology:The word abdication comes derives from the Latin abdicatio. meaning to disown or renounce...

. The declaration was published by the Eisner government when Dandl returned to Munich the next day, interpreting it, somewhat ambiguously, as the end to Wittelsbacher rule.

In exile

Ludwig III returned to Bavaria. His consort Maria Theresia died February 3, 1919 at Wildenwart Castle/Chiemgau
Chiemgau is the common name of a geographic area in Upper Bavaria. It refers to the foothills of the Alps between the rivers Inn and Traun, with lake Chiemsee at its center. The political districts that contain the Chiemgau are Rosenheim and Traunstein...


In February 1919, Eisner was assassinated; fearing that he might be the victim of a counter-assassination, Ludwig fled to Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, later moving on to Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

 and Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. He returned to Bavaria in April 1920 and lived at Wildenwart Castle again. There he remained until September 1921 when he took a trip to his castle Nádasdy in Sárvár in Hungary. He died there October 18.

On November 5, 1921, Ludwig's body was returned to Munich together with that of his wife. They were given a state funeral and were buried in the crypt of the Munich Frauenkirche
Munich Frauenkirche
The Frauenkirche is a church in the Bavarian city of Munich that serves as the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising and seat of its Archbishop. It is a landmark and is considered a symbol of the Bavarian capital city.The church towers are widely visible because of local height...



External links

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