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Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria (12 March 1821 – 12 December 1912), was the de facto ruler of Bavaria from 1886 to 1912, due to the incapacity of his nephews, King Ludwig II for three days and King Otto for 26 years.

Luitpold was born in Würzburg, the third son of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and his wife, Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. He was the younger brother of King Maximilian II of Bavariaand of King Otto of Greece. Luitpold was in line to succeed to the throne of the Kingdom of Bavaria, and was also heir presumptive to the throne of Greece, since his brother Otto had no children. However, the Greek law of succession required that Otto's heir should belong to the Greek Orthodox Church. Otto was deposed in 1862 and replaced by Prince William of Denmark, who became George I, King of the Hellenes. Otto died in 1867, leaving Luitpold and his descendants as representatives of Otto's claim. However, Luitpold never pursued that claim.

At the age of fourteen Luitpold joined the Bavarian Army and was promoted Captain of the Artillery in 1835. During the revolutions of 1848 Prince Luitpold mediated and facilitated an audience of discontented citizens with his father. During the rule of his brother Maximilian II (1848–64), Luitpold did not play a significant political role.

With the reign of his nephew Ludwig II (1864–1886) Prince Luitpold had increasingly to represent the royal house due to the king's long absence from the capital. In the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 Luitpold was commander of the 3rd Royal Bavarian Division. In 1869 he became Inspector General of the Bavarian Army, during the Franco-Prussian War1870/71 he represented Bavaria in the German General Staff. In that capacity he handed over Ludwig's Kaiserbrief on 3 December 1870, in which Ludwig endorsed the creation of the German Empire with the King of Prussia as Emperor.

Since Ludwig, who nonetheless regretted Bavaria's loss of independence, refused to attend Wilhelm's 10 January proclamation as Emperor in the Palace of Versailles.[2] So Ludwig's brother Prince Otto and his uncle Luitpold represented him in the Palace of Versailles.[3][4] Otto then criticized the celebration as ostentatious and heartless in a letter to his brother. In 1876 Luitpold was appointed Field Marshal.

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