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Munich, 1864: The 18-year-old, idealistic Ludwig II of Bavaria gets crowned as the Kingdom of Bavaria. His first official act is a lavish support for the inspired but indebted composer Richard Wagner, who settles in Munich after Ludwig's request. Ludwig's cabinet cannot understand his support for the arts and is furious about Wagner's expensive lifestyle. Ludwig tries to find a faithful friend in Wagner, whose music he loves, but these hopes get shattered: Behind the King's back, Wagner has an affair with Cosima Wagner, the wife of Wagner's opportunistic conductor Hans von Bülow. In order to avoid a scandal, Wagner has to leave Munich. Ludwig continues to support Wagner and his projects, but he still feels mistrust against him.

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