Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

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Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Симеон Сакскобургготски
Simeon II of Bulgaria.jpg
48th Prime Minister of Bulgaria
In office
24 July 2001 – 17 August 2005
President Petar Stoyanov
Georgi Parvanov
Preceded by Ivan Kostov
Succeeded by Sergei Stanishev
Tsar of Bulgaria
In office
28 August 1943 – 15 September 1946
Regents: Kiril, Bogdan Filov and Nikola Mikhov
(28 August 1943 – 9 September 1944);
Todor Pavlov, Venelin Ganev and Tsvyatko Boboshevski (9 September 1944 – 15 September 1946)
Prime Minister Bogdan Filov
Petur Gabrovski (Acting)
Dobri Bozhilov
Ivan Ivanov Bagryanov
Konstantin Muraviev
Kimon Georgiev
Preceded by Boris III
Succeeded by Vasil Kolarov (Acting President)
Personal details
Born Simeon II of Bulgaria
Simeon von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha
Simeone di Sassonia-Coburgo-Gotha

(1937-06-16) 16 June 1937 (age 77)
Sofia, Bulgaria
Political party National Movement for Stability and Progress
Spouse(s) Margarita Gómez-Acebo y Cejuela
Children Kardam
Kyrill
Kubrat
Konstantin-Assen
Kalina
Alma mater Valley Forge Military Academy and College
Religion Bulgarian Orthodoxy
Signature
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Bulgaria

HM The Tsar
HM The Tsaritsa


HRH The Princess of Kohary

Simeon Borisov Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Tsar Simeon II or Simeon II of Bulgaria (Bulgarian: Симеон Борисов Сакскобургготски, transl. Simeon Borisov Sakskoburggotski or Цар Симеон II; German: Simeon von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha or Simeon von Wettin; Italian: Simeone di Sassonia-Coburgo-Gotha) (born 16 June 1937) is an important political and royal figure in Bulgaria. During his reign as the Tsar of Bulgaria from 1943 to 1946 he was a minor, the monarchical authority being exercised over the kingdom on his behalf by a regency. The regents were Simeon's uncle Prince Kiril, General Nikola Mihov and the prime minister, Bogdan Filov. In 1946 the monarchy was overthrown as a consequence of a referendum, and Simeon was forced into exile. He returned to his home country in 1996. He resumed the role of leader of the nation upon taking office as Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria from July 2001 until August 2005.

As of 2014, Simeon is one of the three last living heads of state from World War II (the others are former King Michael of Romania and Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet), the only living person who has borne the title "Tsar", and he and Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia are the only monarchs in history to have become the head of government through democratic elections.

Royal history[edit]

Simeon was born the son of Boris III and Giovanna of Italy. Following his birth, Boris III sent an air force officer to the River Jordan to obtain water for Simeon's baptism in the Orthodox faith.[1] He became tsar on 28 August 1943 on the death of his father, who had just returned to Bulgaria from a meeting with Adolf Hitler.[2][3] Since Tsar Simeon was only six years old when he ascended the throne, his uncle Prince Kyril, Prime Minister Bogdan Filov, and Lieutenant-General Nikola Mihailov Mihov of the Bulgarian Army were appointed regents.[4]

On 5 September 1944 the Soviet Union declared war on Bulgaria and three days later the Red Army entered the country without encountering resistance. On the next day, 9 September 1944, Prince Kyril and the other regents were deposed by a Soviet-backed coup and arrested. The three regents, all members of the last three governments, Parliament deputies, heads of the army and eminent journalists were executed by the Communists in February 1945.[4]

Towards exile[edit]

The royal family (Queen Giovanna, Simeon II, and his sister Maria-Louisa) remained at Vrana Palace near Sofia, while three new regents were appointed (Todor Pavlov, Venelin Ganev and Tsvyatko Boboshevski). On 15 September 1946, a referendum was held in the presence of the Soviet army. It resulted in a 97% "approval" for republic and abolishment of the monarchy. On 16 September 1946, the royal family was exiled from Bulgaria. Simeon II has never signed any abdication papers—neither at that moment when he was nine years old, nor later. The royal family first went to Alexandria, Egypt, where Queen Giovanna's father Victor Emanuel III, King of Italy, lived in exile. There, Simeon II finished Victoria College (along with Crown Prince Leka of Albania). In July 1951, the Spanish government granted asylum to the family.

Education and business career[edit]

In Madrid, Simeon studied at the Lycée Français, but did not graduate. On 16 June 1955, upon turning 18, in accordance with the Tarnovo Constitution Simeon II read his proclamation to the Bulgarian people as the Tsar of Bulgaria, confirming his will to be king of all Bulgarians and follow the principles of the Tarnovo Constitution and free Bulgaria. In 1958, he enrolled at Valley Forge Military Academy and College in the United States, where he was known as "Cadet Rylski No. 6883",[4] and graduated as a second lieutenant. Once again in Spain (between 1959 and 1962), Simeon studied law and business administration.[5]

He became a businessman. For thirteen years, he was chairman of the Spanish subsidiary of Thomson, a French defence and electronics group. He was also an adviser in the banking, hotel, electronics, and catering sectors.

Monarch in exile[edit]

Simeon issued several political declarations during his exile through his "chancellery" in Madrid directed at the Communist regime in Bulgaria and his exiled compatriots. His early attempts at forming an official government in exile did not come to fruition, however.[citation needed]

Marriage and family[edit]

In 1962 Simeon married a Spanish aristocrat, doña Margarita Gómez-Acebo y Cejuela. The couple have five children – four sons (Kardam, Kiril, Kubrat and Konstantin) and a daughter, Kalina, all of whom subsequently married Spaniards.[4] All of his sons received names of Bulgarian kings.

Political return[edit]

In 1990, a few months after the fall of Communism, Simeon was issued a new Bulgarian passport. In 1996, 50 years after the abolition of the monarchy, Simeon returned to Bulgaria and was met in many places by crowds cheering: "We want our King!"[6] He did not, at that point, make any political announcements or moves.

Various estates in Bulgaria that had been nationalized during the Communist era were returned to Simeon and his family. In 2001, Simeon, who had by this time taken the name Simeon Borisov Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, announced he would return to Bulgaria to form a new political party, the National Movement Simeon II (NMSII), dedicated to "reforms and political integrity."[7] Simeon promised that in 800 days the Bulgarian people would feel tangible positive effects of his government and would enjoy significantly higher standards of living.[8]

Prime Minister[edit]

For details on his cabinet, see: Sakskoburggotski Government

NMSII won a large victory in the parliamentary elections held on 17 June 2001, capturing 120 of the 240 seats in Parliament and defeating the two main pre-existing political parties. Simeon gave an oath as Prime Minister of Bulgaria on 24 July, forming a coalition with the ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF). He gave ministerial positions in his government mainly to technocrats and Western-educated economic specialists. In 2002, his efforts were recognized by his receiving the 2002 Path to Peace Award from the Path to Peace Foundation.[9] During his time in power, Bulgaria joined EC and NATO.

In the 2005 elections, Simeon's party ranked second and participated in the grand coalition government led by the Bulgarian Socialist Party and including the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. Simeon II was given the unofficial ceremonial post of Chairman of the Coalition Council.[7]

The party got just 3.01% of votes and no seats at the parliamentary elections of 2009. Shortly after, on 6 July, Simeon also resigned as NMSII leader.[10]

Views on restoration of the Bulgarian monarchy[edit]

Simeon II has never formally renounced his claim to the Bulgarian throne. He used the title "Tsar of the Bulgarians" in his political statements during his exile. Since his return to Bulgaria, however, Simeon has consistently declined to reveal his views on the restoration of the Bulgarian monarchy, notwithstanding the name of his party. Upon taking office as prime minister, he took an oath to protect the country's republican Constitution.

Heir to the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Koháry[edit]

After the death of his distant cousin Prince Johannes Heinrich of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in April 2010 and due to the exclusion of the late prince's uncle Philipp Josias Maria Joseph Ignatius Michael Gabriel Raphael Gonzaga (Walterskirchen, 18 August 1901 – 31 December 1994) children and descendants from his morganatic marriage with Sarah Aurelia Halasz, Simeon became the Head of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Koháry, former Magnates of Hungary, and heir to the castles of Čabraď and Sv. Anton, both in modern day Slovakia. In early 2012, he nominally ceded his rights to the headship of the princely house of Koháry to his sister Princess Marie Louise of Bulgaria.[11]

Titles, styles, honours, and arms[edit]

Styles of
Simeon II
Royal Monogram of King Simeon II of Bulgaria.svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir

Titles[edit]

  • His Royal Highness The Prince of Turnovo, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Saxony (1937–1943)
  • His Majesty The Tsar of the Bulgarians (1943–1946)
  • His Majesty Tsar Simeon II of the Bulgarians (pretender, 1946–present)
    • Simeon Sakskoburggotski (used in Bulgaria)
    • His Majesty King Simeon II of the Bulgarians (used outside Bulgaria)[12]
  • His Excellency Mr. Simeon Sakskoburggotski (as Prime Minister of Bulgaria, 2001–2005)

Honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]

Dynastical honours[edit]

Ancestors[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kate Connolly, "Once upon a time in Bulgaria", The Guardian, 20 June 2001.
  2. ^ "Bulgarian Rule Goes to Son, 6. Reports on 5-Day Illness Conflict", United Press dispatch of 28 August 1943, in a cutting from an unknown newspaper in the collection of historian James L. Cabot, Ludington, Michigan
  3. ^ Theo Aronson, Crowns in Conflict, p.202. London: John Murray (Publishers) Ltd., 1986. ISBN 0-7195-4279-0
  4. ^ a b c d Geoffrey Hindley, The Royal Families of Europe, p. 156. London: Lyric Books Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-07-093530-0
  5. ^ Lilov 2013, p. 89.
  6. ^ Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha – Prime Minister of Bulgaria
  7. ^ a b Lilov 2013, p. 91.
  8. ^ Lilov 2013, p. 93.
  9. ^ Path to Peace Foundation website
  10. ^ "Симеон Сакскобургготски подаде оставка" (in Bulgarian). Труд. 6 July 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  11. ^ http://www.angelfire.com/realm/gotha/gotha/bulgaria.html
  12. ^ Biography H.M. King Simeon II – Official website of the king (English)
  13. ^ a b c Noblesse et Royautés, Guillaume of Luxembourg's wedding : gala dinner, Photo of Margarita & Simeon II, showing him with the Golden Fleece around the neck, the sash and star of the Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius, the star of ? and the star of Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Belgium (the one at the bottom)
  14. ^ a b c Photo of King Simeon II and "Queen" Margarita at the wedding of Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden and Daniel Westling, Simeon wears around the neck, the necklet of the Order of the Golden Fleece and the collar of the Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius and its star on the left chest above the stars of the ? and the Légion d'honneur
  15. ^ Spanish: Otras disposiciones BOE 07-10-02, Spanish Official Journal (accessed on 30 October 2008)
  16. ^ Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George (2008). "Membership of the Constantinian Order". g/ Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  17. ^ The Royal House of the Two Sicilies (2008). "MEMBERSHIP OF THE ROYAL ILLUSTRIUOS ORDER OF ST. JANUARIUS". g/ The Royal House of the Two Sicilies. Retrieved 26 October 2008. 

Bibliography[edit]

Books[edit]

In addition to the books listed in the References, the following may be mentioned:

  • Walter J.R. Curley, Monarchs in Waiting. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1975. (pp. 23–25: "Bulgaria: His Majesty King Simeon II")
  • Pashanko Dimitroff, Boris III of Bulgaria 1894–1943. London, 1986. ISBN 0-86332-140-2
  • Charles Fenyvesi, Royalty in Exile. London: Robson Books, 1981. (pp. 153–171: "Czar Simeon of the Bulgars") ISBN 0-86051-131-6
  • Stephane Groueff Crown of Thorns, Lanham MD. and London, 1987. ISBN 0-8191-5778-3
  • Gregory Lauder-Frost, The Betrayal of Bulgaria, Monarchist League Policy Paper, London, 1989.
  • Robert K. Massie and Jeffrey Firestone, The Last Courts of Europe. New York: Greenwich House, 1983. ISBN 0-517-41472-4
Lilov, Grigor (2013). Най-богатите българи (1st ed.). Sofia: „Кайлас” ЕООД. ISBN 978-954-92098-9-1. 

Articles[edit]

  • The Daily Telegraph, Obituary for "HM Queen Ioanna of the Bulgarians", London, 28 February 2000.

External links[edit]

Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 16 June 1937
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Boris III
Tsar of Bulgaria
1943–1946
Vacant
Government offices
Preceded by
Boris III
as Tsar of Bulgaria
Head of State of Bulgaria
as Tsar of Bulgaria

1943–1946
Succeeded by
Vasil Kolarov
as Acting President of Bulgaria
Political offices
Preceded by
Ivan Kostov
Prime Minister of Bulgaria
2001–2005
Succeeded by
Sergei Stanishev
Titles in pretence
New title
— TITULAR —
Tsar of Bulgaria
1946–present
Incumbent
Heir:
Kardam
Preceded by
HH Prince Alexander Ernst of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Line of succession to the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha throne
9th position
Succeeded by
Kardam