Brother Otto I of Bavaria

The photograph shows Ludwig II and his brother Otto (1848-1916). Both are wearing the uniform of the Bavarian Leibregiment infantry and holding the corresponding dragoon helmet in their hand. The photograph was taken in 1862 by the court photographer Joseph Albert (1825-1886). It also served as a model for the photo montage of the 1863 Wittelsbach family portrait.

Ludwig II’s younger brother grew up with him and had the same educators. The king cared for his brother throughout his life. They were certainly totally different personalities: Otto is described as a happy and carefree child, in stark contrast to the more serious and dour Ludwig. Nevertheless, the two had a close bond.

After participating in the fighting of the German-German and Franco-Prussian Wars, Otto developed depression and was later declared mentally ill. From 1881 he lived under medical supervision in Fürstenried Palace (Schloss Fürstenried) near Munich. After the death of Ludwig II in 1886, his uncle Prince Luitpold (1821-1912) took over the regency of Bavaria for him. After his death, the regency was declared over and Luitpold’s son Ludwig (1845-1921, ruled from 1913) was proclaimed king. Until his death in 1916, Otto held the title of king for 30 years without having reigned for a single day, longer than any other Bavarian monarch.

Stefan Schnupp