The Regency: Memorial Card on the Occasion of the 90th Birthday of Prince Regent Luitpold
After the deposition of King Ludwig II in 1886 (1845–1886, king from 1864) his uncle Luitpold (1821–1912, prince regent 1886–1912) took over as prince regent until 1912 – he briefly substituted Ludwig and, after his death, was in charge for his underage brother Otto (1848–1916).
In contrast to his predecessors, Luitpold was more reluctant to make political decisions, so that parliament and royalty increasingly faded into the background. The real power was exercised by the government, i.e. the ministries and by the chairman of the Council of Ministers. In addition, the secret chancellery, which was created in 1886 to replace the cabinet secretariat, became the most important advisory body. In accordance with the constitution, the regent’s rights were limited in comparison to those of a king: he was not allowed to introduce new offices and to grant new titles and privileges, nor was he allowed to sell crown goods. Offices could only be filled provisionally, with the exception of the justice sector.
The population appreciated the representative style of government as well as Luitpold’s decidedly common touch. After 26 years in power, Luitpold died at the age of 91 on 12 December 1912, the “Prinzregentenzeit” was marked by peace (in marked contrast to the outbreak of WWI), an economic and cultural boom and transformation. At the same time, however, it is regarded as a phase of neglecting Bavarian interests in favour of imperial policy.