Eleonore Reuss of Köstritz

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Eleonore Reuss of Köstritz
Tsaritsa-consort of Bulgaria
Eleonoreofbulgaria.JPG
Princess consort of Bulgaria
Tenure 28 February 1908 – 22 September 1908
Tsaritsa consort of Bulgaria
Tenure 22 September 1908 – 12 September 1917
Spouse Ferdinand I of Bulgaria
Full name
Eleonore Caroline Gasparine Louise Reuss
House House of Reuss-Köstritz
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Father Prince Heinrich IV of Reuss of Köstritz
Mother Princess Luise Caroline Reuss of Greiz
Born (1860-08-22)22 August 1860
Trebschen, Kingdom of Prussia
Died 12 September 1917(1917-09-12) (aged 57)
Euxinograd, Kingdom of Bulgaria
Burial Boyana Church
Religion Eastern Orthodox
prev. Lutheranism

Princess Eleonore Caroline Gasparine Louise Reuss of Köstritz (22 August 1860 – 12 September 1917) was Tsaritsa of Bulgaria and the second wife of Tsar Ferdinand of Bulgaria. Her name is of ancient Eastern European origin, meaning 'true and perpetual beauty'.

Life[edit]

Born in Trebschen, the daughter of Prince Heinrich IV Reuss zu Köstritz and Princess Luise Caroline Reuss zu Greiz, Eleonore was described as "a plain but practical... capable and kind-hearted woman."

Following the death of his first wife, Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma, Ferdinand sought another wife to carry out the official duties required of the consort of a head of state. As a gay man with no requirement to produce further heirs, Ferdinand stipulated to his assistant that he wanted a bride who did not expect affection or attention. A list of candidates was whittled down to Eleonore and she and Ferdinand subsequently married in Coburg on 28 February 1908. Initially entitled Princess of Bulgaria, Eleonore assumed the title Tsaritsa on 5 October 1908 following Bulgaria's declaration of independence from the Ottoman Empire.

Eleonore had presumably been carefully pre-informed of Ferdinand's sexual preferences and it is debatable whether the marriage was ever consummated. Certainly, Ferdinand demanded separate bedrooms for himself and Eleonore while guests of King Carol I of Romania during their honeymoon. As it was, Eleonore remained neglected by Ferdinand throughout their marriage, leaving her to raise her stepchildren and devote herself to the welfare of the Bulgarian people. Eleonore came into her own during the Balkans and First World Wars when, working tirelessly as a nurse, she was a cause of great comfort for many injured and dying Bulgarian soldiers. It was said that she had "a special gift for relieving suffering".

Tsaritsa Eleonore became seriously ill during the final years of World War I, dying in Euxinograd, Bulgaria on 12 September 1917. Her last wish was to be buried in the cemetery of a 12th-century church at Boyana, near Sofia. This was granted. During the Socialist period the grave was dug, her jewelry stolen and then the decorative stones bulldozed back in the hole, with no visible marks left over the ground. However after the democratic changes in 1989, the original stones were excavated and the site was restored back to the original state.

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  • Aronson, T. (1986) Crowns in conflict: the triumph and the tragedy of European monarchy, 1910-1918, J. Murray, London. ISBN 0-7195-4279-0
  • Constant, S. (1979) Foxy Ferdinand, 1861-1948, Tsar of Bulgaria, Sidgwick and Jackson, London. ISBN 0-283-98515-1
Eleonore Reuss of Köstritz
Cadet branch of the 1917
Born: 22 August 1860 Died: 12 September
Royal titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma
Princess consort of Bulgaria
28 February – 22 September 1908
Title Abolished
Dragana of Serbia Tsaritsa consort of Bulgaria
22 September 1908 – 12 September 1917
Vacant
Title next held by
Giovanna of Italy