Großherzogliche Grabkapelle Karlsruhe, Grabmal Prinz Ludwig

What was the cause of death?The unexpecteddeath of the prince

The early death of Prince Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden at only 23 years old was due to a "brief illness"—at least, that is what was written in the official obituaries and newspaper announcements. Rumors say something else.

An obituary in Freiburg

In the Freiburg newspaper from February 24, 1888, the following notification could be read: "In the previous semester, Price Ludwig, who had taken his seat in the First Chamber after attaining his majority, moved into the local academy [of Freiburg] and quickly gained the love and admiration of our population for his most affable manner. A few days ago, the prince, who was previously in the best of health, suffered a lung infection, which unfortunately brought an end to this young, precious life."

A duel?

The writer, Wolf Graf von Baudissin, reported his memories of the prince's death in 1909. At the time, Baudissin was a member of the infantry regiment in Freiburg, where the prince was studying at the university. "When we paraded around the square, the young Prince Ludwig von Baden very often appeared as an observer [...]. He was a tall, slender, noticeably handsome and rarely amiable person [...]. One day, he died of a lung infection. Quite suddenly, entirely unexpectedly.


Two days prior, I had seen him on the street [...] His death has made us all wholeheartedly sad, we were truly shocked. [...] We ensigns regularly ate in the mess with the officers at midday. Of course, the death of Prince Ludwig was the sole topic of conversation in the days following, and though everyone was careful around us, [...] suddenly we knew it nonetheless: The prince had not died a natural death, but had fallen in a duel.

I am bound on my honor not to name his opponent. But even despite that, today everyone knows who met the cheerful and fun-loving prince, weapon in hand, demanding a reckoning for his sister's stolen honor."


From my time of service. Military memories of Baron von Schlicht [Pseudonym of Wolf Graf von Baudissin], in: Kieler Neueste Nachrichten, January 6, 1909

French duel, drawing by Durand, 1874

French duel, drawing from 1874.