Eleonore Reuss of Köstritz
|Eleonore Reuss of Köstritz|
|Princess consort of Bulgaria|
|Tenure||28 February 1908 – 22 September 1908|
|Tsaritsa consort of Bulgaria|
|Tenure||22 September 1908 – 12 September 1917|
22 August 1860|
Trebschen, Kingdom of Prussia
12 September 1917 (aged 57)|
Euxinograd, Kingdom of Bulgaria
|Spouse||Ferdinand I of Bulgaria|
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 in Trebschen, in the Prussian Province of Brandenburg (present-day Poland), the daughter of Prince Heinrich IV Reuss zu Köstritz and Princess Luise Caroline Reuss zu Greiz. She was also a younger sister to Prince Heinrich XXIV Reuss of Köstritz and a first cousin to Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (Eleonore's father and Marie's mother were brother and sister). Eleonore was described as "a plain but practical... capable and kind-hearted woman."
At the age of seventeen, Eleonore was engaged to Count Mark Alexandrovich Ospeni. The day after the engagement the Count was summoned to Russia because of the start of the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878). Count Ospeni is wounded after the battle at the village of Telish and later died from these wounds.
Following the death of his first wife, Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma, Tsar Ferdinand sought another wife to carry out the official duties required of the consort of a head of state. As a gay man who was no longer required to produce 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 at a Catholic ceremony on 28 February 1908 at St. Augustine's Church in Coburg and a Protestant ceremony on 1 March 1908 at Osterstein Castle. Initially titled Princess of Bulgaria, Eleonore assumed the title Tsaritsa ("Empress") 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. During the Socialist period, however, the grave was broken into, 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.
|Coat of Arms of Queen Eleonore |
|Ancestors of Eleonore Reuss of Köstritz|
- Stéphane Groueff, ‘’Crown of Thorns: The Reign of King Boris III of Bulgaria, 1918-1943’’, Madison Books, 1998.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Eleonora of Bulgaria.|
- 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 1917Born: 22 August 1860 Died: 12 September
Title last held byMarie Louise of Bourbon-Parma
| Princess of Bulgaria
28 February – 22 September 1908
Title last held byDragana of Serbia
| Tsaritsa of Bulgaria
22 September 1908 – 12 September 1917
Title next held byGiovanna of Italy