King Wilhelm II von Württemberg, photograph circa 1910

A king close to his peopleWilhelm II von Württemberg

Intelligence and education, conscientiousness and modesty, and even a friendly closeness to his subjects: King Wilhelm II (1848–1921) was a modern ruler, interested in the developments of his time. He saw himself as a citizen among citizens.

King Wilhelm II in a coach in Bebenhausen. Scan: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

The king paid attention to all people.

Why was the king so beloved by his people?

Even as a child, his teachers taught him that all people deserved respect, regardless of their status and origin. And that was how Wilhelm II acted as king. Again and again, he would speak with passerby on his walks without being recognized. When people in need turned to him with their problems, he tried to help them. The people of Württemberg called the king "e gueter Ma", or "a good man."

King Wilhelm II von Württemberg with a dog in Bebenhausen Palace, photograph circa 1910

The king loved his two dogs.

How did the monarch spend his time?

No matter where he was, he loved to go on long walks with his two dogs, Ali and Rubi. At his private stud farm in Weil, close to Esslingen, he dedicated himself to raising horses, and to racing. He was also a passionate hunter, a passion that he shared with Queen Charlotte. Between 1886 and 1921, the monarch killed 244 deer in Bebenhausen alone. His many hunting trophies still characterize the interior of the palace today.

King Wilhelm II von Württemberg during a hunt, photograph circa 1910

He was a passionate hunter.

What other interests did Wilhelm II have?

As for hunting, their majesties had a shared interest in theater and opera. Wilhelm himself was musically gifted and loved to play music with Charlotte, who liked to play the piano while the king sang along.

Bronze statue of King Wilhelm II with a dog, in front of the Wilhelm's Palace in Stuttgart

No devotee of elegant cuisine.

What were the king's favorite dishes?

Even though there were often large dinners with many important guests, Wilhelm II was no particular devotee of fine and elegant cuisine. Instead, he loved hearty food. The king particularly loved to eat Liptauer cheese, a spicy cheese spread paired with bread. Red sausage with potato salad was another of the king's favorite dishes.

Grave of King Wilhelm II in Ludwigsburg, 1927

The grave of the king, who died in 1921, in Ludwigsburg.

Which events changed Wilhelm II's life?

After the end of World War I, the German empire broke apart, and with it, the monarchy. On November 9, 1918, revolutionaries stormed the Wilhelm's Palace, the residence of the king in Stuttgart, and flew the red flag. The royal couple had to leave the city and fled to Bebenhausen. A few days later, the King of Württemberg abdicated. He was deeply disappointed by his residential city of Stuttgart. He never returned there, and even chose to be buried in Ludwigsburg.