Grand Duchy of Baden: In 1738, ten-year-old, Karl Friedrich succeeded as Margrave of Baden-Durlach upon his grandfather’s death. Baden-Durlach was one of the branches of the Margraviate of Baden, which had been divided several times over the previous 500 years. When August George, the last Margrave of Baden-Baden, died in 1771 without heirs, Karl Friedrich inherited the territory. This brought all of the Baden territories together once again, and Karl Friedrich became Margrave of Baden. Upon the end of the Holy Roman Empire, Karl Friedrich declared himself sovereign, as Grand Duke of the newly created Grand Duchy of Baden. Friedrich II, the last Grand Duke of Baden formally abdicated the throne of Baden on November 22, 1918. The land that encompassed the Grand Duchy of Baden is now located in the German state of Baden-Württemberg.
Ludwig II was born August 15, 1824, in Karlsruhe, Grand Duchy of Baden, now in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, the eldest surviving son of Leopold, Grand Duke of Baden and Sofia of Sweden. He had seven siblings:
- Alexandrine (1820-1904) – married Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, no issue
- Ludwig (1822) – died in infancy
- Friedrich I, Grand Duke of Baden (1826-1907) – married Luise of Prussia, had issue
- Wilhelm (1829-1897) – married Maria Maximilianovna of Leuchtenberg, had issue
- Karl (1832-1906) – married Rosalie von Beust, had issue
- Marie (1834-1899) – married Ernst Leopold, 4th Prince of Leiningen, had issue
- Cecilie (1839-1891) – married Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich of Russia, had issue
Ludwig received a solid education, studying in Vienna and Heidelberg. As a Prince of Baden, he held a seat in the Baden Assembly but only took part in several of their meetings. As he got older, signs of mental illness began to show, and in March 1852, he was diagnosed as having a non-curable mental disorder.
The following month, Ludwig’s father died and he succeeded as Grand Duke of Baden. However, because of his illness, his brother Friedrich served as Regent during Ludwig’s brief four-year reign.
At just 33 years old, Grand Duke Ludwig II died on January 22, 1858, in Karlsruhe, Grand Duchy of Baden, now in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Initially, he was buried in the Karlsruhe Stadtkirche but after World War II, his remains were moved to the Grand Ducal Chapel in the Pheasant Garden in Karlsruhe.