Eleonore Reuss of Köstritz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Eleonore Reuss of Köstritz
Елеонора Българска.jpg
Princess consort of Bulgaria
Tenure 28 February 1908 – 22 September 1908
Tsaritsa consort of Bulgaria
Tenure 22 September 1908 – 12 September 1917
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
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
Religion Eastern Orthodox
prev. Lutheranism

Princess Eleonore Caroline Gasparine Louise Reuss-Köstritz (22 August 1860 – 12 September 1917) was Tsaritsa of Bulgaria and the second wife of Ferdinand I of Bulgaria.


Royal Monogram of Queen Eleonore of Bulgaria

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 (ru). 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.[1] 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.[citation needed] Certainly, Ferdinand demanded separate bedrooms for himself and Eleonore while guests of King Carol I of Romania during their honeymoon.[citation needed] 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".[citation needed]

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 Eleanor of Bulgaria.svg
Coat of Arms of Queen Eleonore
of Bulgaria



  1. ^ Stéphane Groueff, ‘’Crown of Thorns: The Reign of King Boris III of Bulgaria, 1918-1943’’, Madison Books, 1998.
  • 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
Title last held by
Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma
Princess of Bulgaria
28 February – 22 September 1908
Title abolished
Title last held by
Dragana of Serbia
Tsaritsa of Bulgaria
22 September 1908 – 12 September 1917
Title next held by
Giovanna of Italy