The long-awaited heir to the throne of the Bavarian Crown Prince Maximilian II Joseph of Bavaria (1811-1864) and his wife Crown Princess Marie of Prussia (1825-1889) came into the world on 25 August 1845. The hereditary prince was born in the "Green Salon" in Nymphenburg Palace (Schloss Nymphenburg), at that time still located outside the gates of the royal capital and residence city of Munich. This event was all the more joyful because Princess Marie had suffered a miscarriage two years earlier. At 0.30 a.m. 101 cannon shots announced the good news to the city. Nymphenburg Palace was festively decorated and illuminated. The Bavarian hereditary prince was christened just one day later.
The new father described his first rush of emotions after the birth to his brother-in-law, Prince Adalbert of Prussia (1811-1873), with the words "It’s a wonderful feeling to be a father!".
The family had a great influence on Ludwig II in his childhood. For example, he had inherited his imagination and lyrical tendencies from his grandfather Ludwig I (1786-1868), as well as his strong interest in art and literature. Although Ludwig II’s parents, King Max II (1811-1864) and Queen Marie (1825-1889), decided on their son’s upbringing, he remained a stranger to them all his life and always had a distant relationship to both of them. Apart from his brother Otto (1848-1916), who he often worried about at an early age, other members of the Wittelsbach family were of more importance to the future King of Bavaria, such as his uncle Adalbert of Bavaria (1828-1875), who introduced him to the music of Richard Wagner and the court of the Sun King Louis XIV of France. Ludwig II was also closer to his father’s cousin, Empress Elisabeth of Austria (1837-1898), than to his parents.
To chapter: The early years of reign