The Deaths of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and of his Psychiatrist, Professor von Gudden: Warnings from the Nineteenth Century

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King Ludwig II of Bavaria was the subject of an extraordinary diagnostic process by a commission of psychiatrists appointed by the government when concerns were harboured about his profligacy of spending and about his mental state. Before being taken for treatment and being relieved of his royal duties, the king and his psychiatrist, Professor Bernhard von Gudden, died in 1886 in unclear and controversial circumstances. While a definitive account of the events that led to their deaths cannot be provided, it is apparent that Professor Gudden did not satisfactorily identify the risks posed by his patient. Lessons should be learned from his error and from other ways in which psychiatry functioned in this unfortunate case.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology & Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • diagnosis
  • homicide
  • mental illness
  • murder
  • politics
  • psychiatry
  • risk assessment
  • suicide

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