Today it is exactly 90 years ago that the last King of Württemberg, King Wilhelm II. passed away at Bebenhausen Castle.
Prince Wilhelm was born on 25. February 1848 in the Prinzenbau at Stuttgart as the only child of Prince Friedrich and his wife Princess Katharina, one of the daughters of the reigning King Wilhelm I. of Württemberg. As it became in the 1850’s clear that the Crown Princely Couple Karl and Olga, née Grand Duchess of Russia would remain childless he was educated as heir to the Throne as he was at place 3 in the line of succession at that time after Crown Prince Karl and his father, Prince Friedrich. In Tübingen and Göttingen he studied law and Staats-/finacial science and joined the Corps Suevia Tübingen and Göttingen Bremensia. Later he joined in Potsdam the prussian Militär.
On 15. February 1877 he made a true Lovematch when he married at Arolsen Princess Marie zu Waldeck and Pyrmont. Soon in December of the same year the first child, Princess Pauline was born. In July 1880 the heir, Prince Ulrich was born. But unfortunately the young Prince died already 5 months later. In April 1882 the Princess gave birth to a stillborn daughter. The Princss died 3 days later. On 8. April 1886 Prince Wilhelm married again this time Princess Charlotte zu Schaumbrug-Lippe, from the so called Nachold-line of the Princely Family. But unfotunately this marriage remained childless.
On 6. Ocotober 1891 King Karl I. died and Wilhelm now became his successor as King Wilhelm II. Many of the sovereign rights had fallen to the German Emperor. King Willhelm used a rather large middle-class lifestyle and lived also aftrer his accession to the throne at the Wilhelmspalais at Stuttgart and the Neue Schloß was only used for official Events. Without guard or escort, he went to walk in the last days of his government in Stuttgart. Men from the bourgeoisie, he invited them to “Mr. evenings” in his residence in the Wilhelmspalais. For domestic servants and agricultural workers, he introduced a health insurance. And taxes were first levied in Württemberg after the actual income of citizens.
Under his patronage the Socialist Congress was held in Stuttgart, at the court theater plays were performed, which were banned in other countries, for example, by Frank Wedekind, at whose performances the Royal Couple together was present.
The outbreak of World War II shocked King Willhelm II. with tears in his eyes, he discharged the troops in Stuttgart.
Since the end of October 1918 there where more and more demonstrations and protests against the existing social order. Also in the elimination of the Württemberg monarchy was demanded. At a meeting of the demonstrators with the Mionister of the Intereieur Köhler on 04. November 1918 the protesters agreed that King Wilhelm II – highly appreciated by his subjects – have an exemplary act constitutionally, one of the leaders who demanded the abdication. The spartacisr Seebacher formulated as follows, however: „s’isch aber wegen dem Sischtem“ (“however, it is because of the system “) At the 9. November 1918, a revolutionary crowd was penetrated with foreign leaders in part to the Wilhelmsplais, King Wilhelm II. eventually left the evening in Stuttgart Bebenhausen direction. That assisted him in this situation, no one, he never relatives. On 30 November 1918, he renounced the crown and assumed the title of Duke of Württemberg. The provisional government assured him on 29 November 1918 very obligingly, that he would retain in addition to an annual pension of 200,000 marks and a lifetime residency rights in the hunting lodge Bebenhausen the unrestricted right to dispose of his private property.
The last years where spent in Bebenhausen and more at Friedrichshafen. King Wilhelm II. died in the morning of the 2. October 1921 at Bebenhausen Castle. He was lying in State at Bebenhausen and on 7. Ocotober the coffin was brought to Marienwahl his House at Ludwigsburg according to his own wishes the coffin was not carried through Stuttgart but around it. From Marienwahl the coffin was brought to the Old burial ground at Ludwigsbrug where he was buried next to his first wife and son.
After his death the headship of the Royal House passed to the so called catholic line of the House of Würtztemberg and the present Head of the House is Duke Carl. Since 1993 there is again a connection to King Wilhelm II. as Duke Friedrich, the oldest son and heir of duke Carl, married in 1993 Princess Marie zu Wied who is a great-great-granddaughter of King Wilhelm II. through his daughter Princess Pauline who was marrid to Fürst Friedrich zu Wied.