Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. A public festival thrown for the people of Munich in honor of the occasion was the very first Oktoberfest.
I’m not royalty. I’m not Bavarian. My name isn’t even Therese.
But I did get married in the fall, and went to Germany on my honeymoon. In fact, it was probably pretty close to Ludwig and Therese’s anniversary when Bill and I got to Munich. The Oktoberfest had already ended, but that was okay; we were on our honeymoon and didn’t need to do a big social thing.
One place we stopped was the Hofbrauhaus. There are six beers made locally, and Hofbrau is one. I think we went to the Hofbrauhaus for lunch (and so Bill could have their beer). Typical for a beer hall, we sat at a long, public table. Another couple joined us. Like us, they were tourists, but they were German tourists and they were obviously country bumpkins (I think they had one complete set of teeth between the two of them). They were obviously thrilled to be in the big city for a holiday. It was so cute to see them enjoying themselves and their trip. And I took much comfort in knowing that they stood out as tourists as much, if not more, than I did.
Not far outside Munich is a place called Schloss Nymphenburg. This was the summer home of the Bavarian royalty, including Ludwig and Therese. One of the rooms, the Gallery of Beauties, contains portraits of 36 women, commissioned by Ludwig. Bill recalled that our tour guide said that these were Ludwig’s conquests. I’m not sure of that, but definitely, at least one woman was at the center of a major scandal that ended with Ludwig abdicating his throne to his son.
So, he wasn’t a good king, and definitely not a good husband…but he threw a good party.
Twelve years ago today, my life changed forever. Although I was no more mature when I left the church then when I went in, I can say with certainty that the sacrament of marriage transformed me. All of me – my future, my dreams and my hopes – was bound to this other person who would either drag me down like an anchor or lift me like a helium filled balloon…or…keep me grounded like an anchor or have me drifting aimlessly like a helium filled balloon…or…do all four of those things depending on where we are in our life! For better or ill, we’re traveling this road together.
We don’t have a fancy summer home, and Bill’s gallery of beauties is filled with photos of me and our children instead of exotic dancers, thank goodness. He’ll never be king, but he’s a good husband…and, he throws a good party.