Luitpold of Bavaria

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Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria

Luitpold Karl Joseph Wilhelm of Bavaria (born March 12, 1821 in Würzburg , † December 12, 1912 in Munich ) was Prince Regent of the Kingdom of Bavaria from 1886 until his death ; initially for three days for his nephew King Ludwig II , then for his mentally ill brother Otto I. While his reign brought about great cultural prosperity for Munich, for Bavaria it meant the gradual subordination of Bavarian interests to those of the German Empire .

Prince Luitpold of Bavaria around 1845, lithograph by Ignaz Fertig

Early years

Würzburg residence, Luitpold's birthplace

Luitpold of Bavaria was born in the Würzburg residence as the fifth child and third son of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen . His siblings were Maximilian (* 1811, later King of Bavaria), Mathilde (* 1813), Otto (* 1815, later King of Greece), Theodolinde (* 1816), Adelgunde (1823-1914), Hildegard (* 1825), Alexandra (* 1826), later abbess of St. Anna in Munich, and Adalbert (* 1828). Luitpold was his father's favorite son.

Luitpold's military career began at the age of 14 on the instructions of his father, and his father made him captain of the artillery in 1835 , and in 1841 he became a colonel. In the following years he made it to major general and Feldzeugmeister . In 1841 he became an honorary member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences .

Luitpold went on extensive trips abroad and got to know his future wife, Archduchess Auguste Ferdinande of Austria-Tuscany , daughter of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The couple married on April 15, 1844 in Florence .

In the crucial moments of the Lola-Montez affair at the beginning of 1848, Luitpold arranged an audience with his father, King Ludwig I, for a delegation of the dissatisfied people. This did not bring any immediate results, but it showed the king the dissatisfaction of his subjects. Only a little later, Ludwig I separated from Lola and in the same year renounced the throne in favor of his eldest son Maximilian.

Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, around 1870

During the reign of his eldest brother Maximilian II (1848–1864), Luitpold did not play an important political role in the Kingdom of Bavaria. His other older brother Otto was King of Greece at the time; under the Greek constitution of 1844, Luitpold and his descendants - should his brother die without an heir - were intended as heir to the throne for Greece . In return, Luitpold had agreed to convert to the Orthodox creed if necessary .

After Auguste von Leuchtenberg's death , Prince Luitpold bought Palais Leuchtenberg in 1852 , which was then renamed after him and became his residence.

Military commander and representative of Bavaria

King Maximilian II died in 1864, whereupon his son Ludwig II succeeded him as King of Bavaria. Under the government of his nephew, Luitpold had to perform increasingly representative tasks in the capital, as Ludwig stayed away from his residence for years. In the German War of 1866 Luitpold was commander of the 3rd division . After the defeat by Prussia in 1866, Luitpold began to reorganize the Bavarian army according to the Prussian model. In addition to organizational reforms of the military, this also included the introduction of new rifles and machine weapons, which were initially obtained from abroad, especially America, before Bavarian manufacturers such as Cramer-Klett in Nuremberg or the Augsburg machine factory received armaments orders. In 1869 Luitpold became General Inspector of the Army , and during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71 he was Bavaria's representative on the Prussian General Staff . As such, he handed on December 3, 1870 the Prussian King Wilhelm I called Kaiser letter . As a representative of Bavaria, he took part in the imperial proclamation in Versailles on January 18, 1871. In 1876 Ludwig II appointed him Generalfeldzeugmeister with the rank of Generalfeldmarschall .

After King Ludwig II was incapacitated on June 9, 1886, Luitpold, not without hesitation, showed his willingness to rule the Kingdom of Bavaria on June 10 and, from June 14, led state affairs as Prince Regent. When Ludwig II drowned three days later in Lake Starnberg, his younger brother Otto I officially succeeded him to the Bavarian throne. Since Otto had been mentally ill since his youth and therefore incapable of governing , Prince Regent Luitpold exercised the reign for him too. On July 28th, he took the government oath as "the Kingdom of Bavaria's administrator ".

Prince Regent

Constitutional position

According to the constitution, Luitpold, as regent, did not have the right to establish new offices. In addition, all offices, with the exception of those in the judiciary, should only be filled provisionally. Likewise, a steward should not be able to sell crown property and re-grant titles or other privileges. However, Luitpold had these provisions reinterpreted in his favor just one year after assuming power. In financial terms, the Prince Regent had limited resources. 800,000 Reichsmarks were freely available to him annually - far less than a king of Bavaria. Nevertheless, by 1902 the House of Wittelsbach paid back to the creditor banks in full all debts incurred as a result of King Ludwig's construction activity.

Prince Regent Luitpold on his 90th birthday in 1911
Prince Regent Luitpold and his sister Adelgunde von Modena-Este in the Prien archipelago. Since the Prince Regent had long been a widower, she took on the duties of the first lady in the state.

Political activity

Unlike the kings before him, Luitpold had a presidential-representative style of government and was mostly very reluctant to make political decisions, so that government and parliament gained power. Luitpold left the government largely to his liberal and pro-Reich ministries under the chairman of the Council of Ministers Johann von Lutz (until 1890), Friedrich Krafft von Crailsheim (until 1903) and Clemens von Podewils-Dürniz (until 1912). Luitpold, although Catholic himself, also supported Lutz's anti-Catholic attitude and the hard position of the Bavarian government against the Church and political Catholicism. In 1890 Luitpold prevented a planned Munich Catholic Day , but nevertheless campaigned for the culture war to be resolved .

The voting shares of the Liberals, however, increasingly shrank in the state elections of this time, they only put the second largest parliamentary group behind the center , which benefited from the liberal vote losses. In addition, new parties such as the Bavarian Farmers' Union and the Social Democrats emerged . In 1893 the SPD moved into the Bavarian state parliament for the first time. All of this intensified parliamentary pressure on the government and led to increasing tensions, which reached a climax towards the end of the 19th century, when the center no longer wanted to support the anti-Catholic attitude of the liberals.

In 1902 the Landtag refused to approve 100,000 Reichsmarks that the Prince Regent had planned for the purchase of works of art. This parliamentary uprising caused a sensation throughout the empire. Kaiser Wilhelm II offered Luitpold in the Swinemünder Depesche to transfer the unapproved amount and was outraged about the “disgraceful ingratitude” of the Bavarian MPs. Luitpold turned down the offer, but because of the interference from Prussia , the outrage from the center became louder and louder. Relations with Prussia remained relatively cool even after the Kulturkampf. The reservation rights of Bavaria, however, were emphasized under Luitpold in representative buildings, such as those for the Bavarian Army Museum , the Ministry of Transport and the main customs office . Nevertheless, Luitpold accepted the increasing integration of Bavaria into the Reich and only opposed centralization in the military area - albeit mostly unsuccessfully. In 1906 the state election law was harmonized with the national election law.

In the last year of his reign in 1912, on the advice of close confidants such as Peter von Wiedenmann , Hugo von Lerchenfeld and Adolf von Auer, he appointed the distinguished central politician - and thus for the first time since 1869 a representative of the majority faction in the Chamber of Deputies - Georg von Hertling as Chairman of the Council of Ministers.

Cultural bloom

Under Luitpold, Munich in particular, namely Schwabing , experienced a great cultural boom. But the universities, especially in the natural sciences, also attracted numerous renowned scholars and researchers from all over Germany and beyond. In 1903 he introduced women's studies in Bavaria. Luitpold's love of painting - he was taught as a child by the important architectural painter Domenico Quaglio - began a fertile time for the visual arts in Munich, in which not only the masters of the old school, but also modern and committed art found their place got. The German Art Nouveau got its name in Munich from 1896. The Prince Regent often made unexpected studio visits to young and unknown artists and contributed to the promotion of these artists through the newspaper reports that followed. The Prince Regent stood in contrast to the Kaiser in Berlin, who even dismissed Hugo von Tschudi because of his aversion to modern art , who promptly found a new job in Munich.

Like his brothers for art and Hellenism , Luitpold raved about nature, the forest and, as a mountaineer, the mountains. He started his passionate hobby, hunting, at an early age. He was a welcome guest on many hunts, and he made Oberstdorf his official court hunt. Luitpold was the chief hunter of over 130,000 hectares of royal body enclosure, around 15% of the state forest. The hunting year saw him all over Bavaria, from the Spessart to Ingolstadt and Munich to the Upper Bavarian and Allgäu mountains. There in Oberstdorf, on his birthday, he not only donated the children a day off from school, but also gave each child a roll with sausage and each child from the third school year a pint of beer. Numerous such anecdotes about the popularity of the Prince Regent are still told in Bavaria today.

Last days and death

On the occasion of his 90th birthday on March 12, 1911, the state ironworks in Amberg was named " Luitpoldhütte ", the coin minted mark pieces with Luitpold's portrait for the first time and stamps appeared for the first time showing his portrait instead of the Bavarian national coat of arms. When the Munich city fathers requested that a memorial be erected for him at the National Museum , he responded with a request to wait until after his death, otherwise he would not be able to pass by at this point.

On December 10, 1912, the Prince Regent was still walking in the English Garden and greeting well-known people with a handshake. On December 11th, she developed persistent bronchitis with a high fever. Luitpold died the next morning around 5:00 a.m. After his death, his son Ludwig succeeded him in the office of Prince Regent of Bavaria.

Political perception of the time of the Prince Regent

Luitpold's statue in the Munich Palace of Justice

The "Prinzregentenzeit", as the reign of Prince Luitpold is often called, is due to the political passivity of Luitpold as the era of the gradual subordination of Bavarian interests to those of the Reich. In connection with the unfortunate end of the previous rule of King Ludwig II, this break in the Bavarian monarchy had an even stronger effect. The constitutional amendment of 1913 finally brought in the opinion of historians the decisive break in the continuity of the kingdom, especially since this change from the parliament had been granted as a representation of the people and thus indirectly a step away from the constitutional towards parliamentary monarchy meant. The combination of these two developments is now considered to be the main cause of the unspectacular and unopposed end of the Bavarian Kingdom in the course of the November Revolution of 1918.

In the course of his 26-year reign , Prince Regent Luitpold nevertheless managed to overcome the initial discomfort of his subjects through modesty, efficiency and folklore. These years of the Prince Regent were finally - especially in retrospect - transfigured into a golden age in Bavaria, even if the “fairy tale king” Ludwig II continued to be mourned, which is still happening in a folkloric - nostalgic way today.

Aftermath and culture of remembrance

Sarcophagus of Prince Regent Luitpold
Equestrian monument for Luitpold of Bavaria, 1913 by Adolf von Hildebrand and Theodor Georgii .
Location: in front of the Bavarian National Museum in Munich
Kiliansbrunnen at Würzburg train station donated by Prince Regent Luitpold

The entire European nobility gathered in Munich for his funeral service. In his funeral address, Kaiser Wilhelm II referred to him as the "last knight". Prince Regent Luitpold was buried in the crypt of the Theatine Church in the Wittelsbach family crypt .

Numerous "Prinzregenten-" or "Luitpold streets" in Bavaria and the Bavarian Palatinate, which at the Munich Prinzregentenstraße located Prinzregententheater , the Munich Luitpold Park (known later as part of the and the "Luitpoldhain" with "Luitpoldhalle" in Nuremberg Party Rally Grounds ), the Ludwigshafen " Luitpoldhafen " and the " Prinzregententorte " were named after him. There is a wheat beer called Prinzregent Luitpold .

Statues and monuments of the Prince Regent are, for example, in Augsburg , Munich, Oberstdorf , Heilsbronn, Füssen and Landau in the Palatinate ; Luitpoldbrunnen there are u. a. in Bad Königshofen , Augsburg , Kulmbach , Ansbach and Edenkoben .

In his hometown of Würzburg the former were Luitpoldbrücke (now Peace Bridge ), the Luitpold Museum (now the Museum of Swiss francs ), the Luitpold Hospital (today's University Hospital) and (later in Frankoniabrunnen renamed) Luitpold fountain named after him. A memorial for Luitpold planned in 1899 was inaugurated in 1903 on the east side of the station forecourt . In 1943 the bronze figures of the monument for the armaments production were melted down ; In 1964 the rest of the monument was demolished.

The German Alpine Association owns the Prinz Luitpold House named after him in the Allgäu Alps at an altitude of 1,846 meters. The property for this comes from the Prince Regent. Dieter Seibert says: "A wonderful place that the Prince Regent had given the mountaineers at the time".

There are “Luitpoldhöhen” named in his honor in Amberg , Cham (with observation tower), Rohrbrunn ( Luitpoldshöhe Castle ), Selb , Bad Hindelang and Marktoberdorf (originally designed in the style of a landscape park).

Schools also got his name, including the Munich Luitpold-Gymnasium , founded in 1887 , the “ Royal Luitpold-Kreisrealschule ” in Munich, which was inaugurated by the Prince Regent in 1891, and the even older “ Luitpold Realschule Wasserburg am Inn ” from 1879. There is also the Prinz- Luitpold-Bad ( Bad Oberdorf ), the Prinz-Luitpold-Turm ( Döbraberg ) and the Prinzregent-Luitpold Children's Clinic ( Scheidegg ). In Kitzingen, the Luitpoldbau cultural center , which emerged from a bathing establishment named after the Prince Regent, also bears the name after the change in use.

In the Antarctic , researchers named a region after him, today's Prinzregent-Luitpold-Land .

The saloon steamer Luitpold , which sailed Lake Starnberg from 1890, was named after Luitpold . However, the ship was renamed Munich after the First World War . Was also named after him the big battleship Prince Regent Luitpold , which in 1913 as the last ship of the Kaiser class entered service.

The 1st and 7th field artillery regiments of the Bavarian Army both bore the name of their former owner , Prince Regent Luitpold, until they were dissolved in 1919 .

The Magdeburg Field Artillery Regiment No. 4 and the Württemberg Field Artillery Regiment No. 29 also bore his name in his honor.


Pedigree of Prince Regent Luitpolds of Bavaria

Christian III. von Pfalz-Zweibrücken
⚭ 1719
Karoline von Nassau-Saarbrücken

Joseph Karl von Pfalz-Sulzbach
⚭ 1717
Elisabeth Auguste Sofie von der Pfalz

Ludwig VIII of Hesse-Darmstadt
⚭ 1717
Charlotte von Hanau-Lichtenberg

Christian Karl Reinhard (Leiningen-Dagsburg-Falkenburg)
⚭ 1726
Katharina Polyxena von Solms-Rödelheim

Ernst Friedrich II of Saxony-Hildburghausen
⚭ 1726
Caroline von Erbach

Ernst August I of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
⚭ 1734
Sophie Charlotte of Brandenburg-Bayreuth

Karl zu Mecklenburg
⚭ 1735
Elisabeth Albertine of Saxony-Hildburghausen

Georg Wilhelm von Hessen-Darmstadt
⚭ 1748
Maria Luise Albertine zu Leiningen-Dagsburg-Falkenburg

Great grandparents

Friedrich Michael von Pfalz-Birkenfeld (1724–1767)
⚭ 1746
Maria Franziska Dorothea von Pfalz-Sulzbach (1724–1794)

Georg Wilhelm von Hessen-Darmstadt (1722–1782)
⚭ 1748
Maria Luise Albertine von Leiningen-Dagsburg-Falkenburg (1729–1818)

Ernst Friedrich III. Carl von Sachsen-Hildburghausen (1727–1780)
⚭ 1758
Ernestine von Sachsen-Weimar Eisenach (1740–1786)

Grand Duke
Karl of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1741–1816)
⚭ 1768
Friederike Caroline Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt (1752–1782)


Bavarian royal crown
King Maximilian I Joseph (1756–1825)
⚭ 1785
Auguste Wilhelmine of Hessen-Darmstadt (1765–1796)

Duke Friedrich von Sachsen-Hildburghausen (1763–1834)
⚭ 1785
Charlotte Georgine Luise von Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1769–1818)


Bavarian royal crown
King Ludwig I (1786–1868)
⚭ 1810
Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen (1792–1854)

Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria (1821–1912)


Prince Regent Luitpold married Archduchess Auguste Ferdinande (1825–1864), daughter of Grand Duke Leopold II of Austria-Tuscany and his first wife Princess Maria Anna of Saxony on April 15, 1844 in Florence . The marriage had four children:

⚭ 1868 Archduchess Marie Therese of Austria-Este (1849–1919)
⚭ 1873 Archduchess Gisela Louise Marie of Austria (1856–1932)
  • Therese (1850–1925), writer and honorary member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences because of her mainly scientific research, Dr. hc from the University of Munich
  • Arnulf (1852-1907)
⚭ 1882 Princess Therese of Liechtenstein (1850–1938)

The two oldest sons were looked after by the artillery officer Ferdinand von Malaisé as educator and private tutor from 1852 to 1863 .



  • Dieter AlbrechtLuitpold. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 15, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-428-00196-6 , p. 505 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Hans-Peter Baum : Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria (1821–1912) and the city of Würzburg. In: Ulrich Wagner (Hrsg.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes; Volume III / 1–2: From the transition to Bavaria to the 21st century. Theiss, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-1478-9 ), pp. 173-176.
  • Gottfried von Böhm : Ludwig II. King of Bavaria, his life and time , Berlin 1924.
  • Herbert Eulenberg : The last Wittelsbacher. Phaidon, Vienna 1929, pp. 239-263.
  • Birgit Jooss : “A rebuke was never pronounced”. Prince Regent Luitpold as a friend of the artist . In: Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria. A Wittelsbacher between tradition and modernity . Edited by Ulrike Leutheusser and Hermann Rumschöttel, Munich 2012, pp. 151–176.
  • Ulrike Leutheusser , Hermann Rumschöttel (ed.): Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria. A Wittelsbacher between tradition and modernity. Allitera-Verlag, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-86906-334-8 .
  • Karl Möckl : The time of the Prince Regent. Society and politics during the era of Prince Regent Luitpold in Bavaria. [With] 14 tables . Oldenbourg, Munich a. a. 1972, ISBN 3-486-47521-5 .
  • Jean Louis Schlim: Prince Regent Luitpold - memories from royal photo albums . August Dreesbach Verlag, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-940061-94-2 .
  • Katharina Weigand, Jörg Zedler, Florian Schuller (eds.): The time of the Prince Regent. Dusk of the Bavarian Monarchy? Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-7917-2477-5 .


Web links

Commons : Prinzregent Luitpold von Bayern  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Sybille Grübel: Timeline of the history of the city from 1814-2006. In: Ulrich Wagner (Hrsg.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes, Volume I-III / 2, Theiss, Stuttgart 2001-2007; III / 1–2: From the transition to Bavaria to the 21st century. Volume 2, 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-1478-9 , pp. 1225-1247; here: p. 1226.
  2. Hans-Peter Baum (2007), p. 173.
  3. Theodor Toeche-Mittler: The imperial proclamation in Versailles on January 18, 1871 with a directory of the festival participants. Ernst Siegfried Mittler and Son, Berlin 1896.
  4. H. Schnaebeli: photographs of the imperial proclamation in Versailles , Berlin 1871st
  5. Hans-Peter Baum (2007), p. 173.
  6. House of Bavarian History : The Prince Regent as "the Kingdom of Bavaria's administrator" for King Ludwig II and King Otto
  7. Prince Regent Luitpold
  8. ^ House of Bavarian History : Domestic Policy under Prince Regent Luitpold
  9. Hans-Peter Baum (2007), p. 174.
  10. ^ House of Bavarian History : Domestic Policy under Prince Regent Luitpold
  11. ^ House of Bavarian History : Domestic Policy under Prince Regent Luitpold
  12. Hans-Peter Baum (2007), p. 174.
  13. The Luitpoldbrunnen on the market square of Bad Königshofen was donated in 1911 (pdf)
  14. Hans-Peter Baum (2007), pp. 174–176.
  15. Bärgündele and Prince Luitpold , in: Dieter Seibert: Walks with children in the Allgäu , Steiger Verlag Augsburg 1996, pp. 47–50; Quotation: p. 47 ISBN 3-89652-019-9

predecessor Office successor
(takeover of the reigns of Ludwig II. King of Bavaria and Otto I. King of Bavaria )
Prince Regent of Bavaria June 10, 1886-12. December 1912Kingdom of BavariaKingdom of Bavaria 
Ludwig III