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Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

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Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Симеон Сакскобургготски
Simeon in 2017
48th Prime Minister of Bulgaria
In office
24 July 2001 – 17 August 2005
PresidentPetar Stoyanov
Georgi Parvanov
DeputyNikolay Vasilev
Lydia Shuleva (2001–2005)
Kostadin Paskalev (2001–2002)
Plamen Panayotov (2003–2005)
Preceded byIvan Kostov
Succeeded bySergey Stanishev
Personal details
Born (1937-06-16) 16 June 1937 (age 87)
Vrana Palace, Sofia, Kingdom of Bulgaria
Political partyIndependent (2009–present)
Other political
National Movement for Stability and Progress (2001–2009)
ChildrenKardam, Prince of Tarnovo
Kyril, Prince of Preslav
Kubrat, Prince of Panagyurishte
Konstantin-Assen, Prince of Vidin
Princess Kalina, Countess of Murany
Parent(s)Boris III of Bulgaria
Giovanna of Italy
Alma materValley Forge Military Academy and College
Tsar of Bulgaria
Reign28 August 1943 – 15 September 1946
Regents' council
PredecessorBoris III
SuccessorMonarchy abolished
Vasil Kolarov (as Acting President)
See list
  • 28 August 1943 – 9 September 1944:
    9 Sep 1944 – 15 September 1946:
HouseSaxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry
ReligionEastern Orthodox
SignatureSimeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha's signature

Simeon Borisov Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Bulgarian: Симеон Борисов Сакскобургготски, romanizedSimeon Borisov Sakskoburggotski, [simeˈɔn boˈrisof sakskoburˈɡɔtski]; born 16 June 1937) is a Bulgarian politician who reigned as the last tsar of the Kingdom of Bulgaria as Simeon II from 1943 until 1946.[1] He was six years old when his father Boris III of Bulgaria died in 1943. Royal power was exercised on his behalf by a regency council led by Simeon's uncle Kiril, Prince of Preslav, General Nikola Mihov and prime minister, Bogdan Filov. In 1946 the monarchy was abolished by referendum, and Simeon was forced into exile.

Simeon returned to his home country in 1996, formed the political party National Movement for Stability and Progress (NMSP) and was elected Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria from July 2001 until August 2005.[2] In the next elections, as a leader of NMSP, he took part in a coalition government with the Bulgarian Socialist Party. In 2009, after NMSP failed to win any seats in Parliament, he left politics.

As of 20 July 2024, Simeon is one of only two living people who were heads of state from the time of World War II, along with the 14th Dalai Lama, although both held mostly symbolic roles in their government's position.

Royal history

Prince Simeon as a baby
Prince Simeon of Bulgaria

Simeon was born to Boris III of Bulgaria and Giovanna of Italy. Following his birth, Boris III sent an air force officer to the Jordan River to obtain water for Simeon's baptism in the Orthodox faith.[3] He succeeded to the throne on 28 August 1943 upon the death of his father, who had just returned to Bulgaria from a meeting with Adolf Hitler.[4][5] Since Simeon was only six years old, his uncle Prince Kiril, Prime Minister Bogdan Filov, and Lt. General Nikola Mihov of the Bulgarian Army were appointed regents.[6]

Under his father, Bulgaria joined the Axis powers in World War II but managed to preserve diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. Still, on 5 September 1944 Stalin 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 1947.[6]

Towards exile


The royal family — Queen Giovanna, Simeon, and his sister Maria-Louisa — remained at Vrana Palace, near Sofia, while three new regents were appointed, all Communists (Todor Pavlov, Venelin Ganev and Tsvetko Boboshevski). On 15 September 1946, a referendum was held in the presence of the Soviet army. It proposed abolishing the monarchy and declaring a republic. Official figures showed a 95.6% approval for ending 68 years of monarchy.[7] This referendum actually violated the Tarnovo Constitution, which held that any change in the form of the state could only be implemented by a Grand National Assembly convened by the tsar.

On 16 September 1946, the royal family was exiled from Bulgaria while given a way to take out large amount of movable property. They first went to Alexandria, Egypt, where Simeon's grandfather Victor Emmanuel III, the former king of Italy, lived in exile. There, in 1951, Simeon studied at Victoria College (along with Crown Prince Leka of Albania). In July 1951, General Francisco Franco's dictatorship in Spain granted asylum to the family.[8]

Education and business career


In Madrid, Simeon studied at the Lycée Français. On 16 June 1955, upon turning 18, in accordance with the Tarnovo Constitution, Simeon read a proclamation to the Bulgarian people, claiming that he was Tsar of Bulgaria and confirming his will to be Tsar of all Bulgarians and to follow the principles contrary to those of the communist regime then ruling 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",[6] and he graduated as a second lieutenant. Once again in Spain (between 1959 and 1962), Simeon studied law and business administration.[9]

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

Marriage and issue


On 21 January 1962, Simeon married a Spanish aristocrat, Doña Margarita Gómez-Acebo y Cejuela. The couple have had five children – four sons (Kardam, Kiril, Kubrat and Konstantin) and a daughter, Kalina, all of whom subsequently married Spaniards.[6] All of his sons received names of Bulgarian Tsars, his daughter has a Bulgarian name, although only four of his eleven grandchildren have Bulgarian names (Boris, Sofia, Mirko and Simeon).

Political return


In 1990, just months after the fall of communism, Simeon was issued a new Bulgarian passport. In 1996, fifty years after the abolition of the monarchy, Simeon returned to Bulgaria and was met in many places by crowds of approval. He did not, at that point, make any political announcements or moves, as he had already denied in a TV interview (1990) to have any material property claims against Bulgaria.[10] However, these social sentiments gradually disappeared after his premiership, with Simeon making moves to take back large areas or real estate property in Bulgaria that was under the monarchy's governance before 1945.

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 (later renamed to NMSP), dedicated to "reforms and political integrity."[11] 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.[12]

Prime Minister

President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski and Simeon at 28 August 2003

NMSP 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 was sworn in 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.

During his time in power, Bulgaria joined NATO, after he had agreed to enter into the U.S.-led coalition against Iraq. In 2002, he received the Path to Peace Award from the Path to Peace Foundation.[13]

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 was given the unofficial ceremonial post of Chairman of the Coalition Council.[11]

The party got just 3.01% of the votes and no seats at the parliamentary elections of 2009. Shortly after, on 6 July, Simeon also resigned as NMSP leader.[14]

Views on restoration of the Bulgarian monarchy


Although not yet formally renouncing his claim to the Bulgarian throne, Simeon and his family take part in long orchestrated media campaigns and moves throughout Bulgarian political space. He used the title "Tsar of the Bulgarians" in his political statements during his exile. Since his return to Bulgaria, however, Simeon has consistently avoided revealing his views on the restoration of the Bulgarian monarchy, notwithstanding the original name of his party.[15] Upon taking office as Prime Minister, Simeon swore to uphold the republican constitution.



Simeon wrote an autobiography in French under the title Simeon II de Bulgarie, un destin singulier that was released in Bulgaria on 28 October 2014.[16] It was first presented at the headquarters of the UNESCO in Paris on 22 October 2014.[17][18]

Simeon II

Titles and styles

  • 16 June 1937 – 15 September 1946: His Royal Highness The Prince of Turnovo[19]
  • 15 September 1946 – present: His Majesty Tsar Simeon II of the Bulgarians[20] (title of pretense and by courtesy)
  • 24 July 2001 – present: Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha[21]

In a statement published on its website on 1 May 2015, the Bulgarian Patriarchate announced that Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha will be referred to as Tsar of Bulgaria in all public and private services held in the dioceses of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.[22]

Dynastic honours


National state honours


Foreign state and dynastic honours


National awards


Foreign awards



Arms of the Sovereign of Bulgaria (1943–1946)
Personal arms of Simeon



National patronages




See also



  1. ^ "Simeon Saxecoburggotski | prime minister and former king of Bulgaria | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Bulgaria". BBC – Country Profiles. Archived from the original on 7 March 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  3. ^ Kate Connolly (20 June 2001). "Once upon a time in Bulgaria". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  4. ^ "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
  5. ^ Theo Aronson, Crowns in Conflict, p. 202. London: John Murray (Publishers) Ltd., 1986. ISBN 0-7195-4279-0
  6. ^ a b c d Geoffrey Hindley, The Royal Families of Europe, p. 156. London: Lyric Books Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-07-093530-0
  7. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p. 375 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  8. ^ "History of King Simeon II". King Simeon. Archived from the original on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  9. ^ Lilov 2013, p. 89.
  10. ^ "Симеон: Нямам материални имуществени претенции към България". quoted video in a follow-up conversation. 3 February 2014.
  11. ^ a b Lilov 2013, p. 91.
  12. ^ Lilov 2013, p. 93.
  13. ^ "The Path to Peace Foundation homepage". Thepathtopeacefoundation.org\access-date=24 July 2015. Archived from the original on 14 October 2006. Retrieved 27 October 2006.
  14. ^ "Симеон Сакскобургготски подаде оставка" (in Bulgarian). Труд. 6 July 2009. Archived from the original on 8 July 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
  15. ^ "Will Bulgaria Become Monarchy Again?". Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  16. ^ Un destin singulier. Paris: Flammarion. 29 October 2014. ISBN 9782081314672.
  17. ^ "Simeon II of Bulgaria presents a preview of his autobiography at UNESCO". UNESCO. 22 October 2014. Archived from the original on 15 August 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  18. ^ Simeón II de Bulgaria (1 June 2016). Simeón II de Bulgaria. Ediciones Paraninfo, S.A. ISBN 9788484597285. Archived from the original on 12 August 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016 – via Google Books.
  19. ^ "HIS MAJESTY KING SIMEON II – Royal Palace of Vrana".
  20. ^ Biography: His Majesty King Simeon II of the Bulgarians – official website of H.M. Tsar Simeon II
  21. ^ "Letter from Prime Minister Simeon Saxe Coburg Gotha to President Bush (September 13)". Bulgaria-embassy.org. 13 September 2001. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  22. ^ "Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Enthroned by Holy Synod – News – BULGARIAN NEWS AGENCY". Bta.bg. Archived from the original on 18 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  23. ^ a b c d e The Grand Master of the Bulgarian Orders – official website of H.M. Simeon II
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m http://www.kingsimeon.bg/en/ Archived 29 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine, page with Simeon's honours Archived 27 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "Speech by King Simeon II at the ceremony of his award of the Stara Planina Order, Ist degree – H.R.H. King Simeon II". Speech by King Simeon II at the ceremony of his award of the Stara Planina Order, Ist degree – H.R.H. King Simeon II. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  26. ^ "One World magazine – COUBURGS". Oneworld-bg.net. Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  27. ^ "Н.В. Цар Симеон II | Новини -> Симеон II получи най-високото отличие на Министерството на правосъдието". Kingsimeon.bg. 26 May 2009. Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  28. ^ "Queen Anne of Romania and Princess Lilian of Belgium followed by King... News Photo". Getty Images. 2 July 2013. Archived from the original on 23 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  29. ^ "The Royal family attended the reception on the occasion of the Day of St. John the Baptist, patron of the Order of Malta – H.R.H. King Simeon II". The Royal family attended the reception on the occasion of the Day of St. John the Baptist, patron of the Order of Malta – H.R.H. King Simeon II. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  30. ^ "The Majesties attended the celebrations of the 900th anniversary of the Sovereign Order of Malta – H.R.H. King Simeon II". The Majesties attended the celebrations of the 900th anniversary of the Sovereign Order of Malta – H.R.H. King Simeon II. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  31. ^ "MEMBERSHIP OF THE ROYAL ILLUSTRIUOS ORDER OF ST. JANUARIUS". g/ The Royal House of the Two Sicilies. 2008. Archived from the original on 9 January 2009. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
  32. ^ "Membership of the Constantinian Order". g/ Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George. 2008. Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2008.
  33. ^ "- YouTube". YouTube.
  34. ^ "Цар Симеон II беше награден с почетния знак на Държавата Палестина | Н.В. Цар Симеон II".
  35. ^ "SAINTANNA.RU – Кавалеры 1-й степени". saintanna.ru. Archived from the original on 28 March 2012.
  36. ^ "SAINTANNA.RU – List of recipients". saintanna.ru. Archived from the original on 23 April 2012.
  37. ^ "7 julio 1955 B. O. del E—Núm. 188" (PDF). 28 May 2009. p. 4084. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  38. ^ "BOE 238 de 02/10/2004 Sec 3 Pag 33224 a. 33224" (PDF). Boletin Oficial Del Estado. 2 October 2004. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  39. ^ "King Simeon II of Bulgaria Photos – Zimbio". M.zimbio.com. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  40. ^ "Н.В. Цар Симеон II | Новини -> Н.В. Цар Симеон ІІ получи медал и грамота в чест на 125-ата годишнина на 9-и пехотен полк на Княгиня Клементина". Kingsimeon.bg. Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  41. ^ "Н.В. Цар Симеон II | Новини -> Негово Величество получи почетния знак на българските читалища". Kingsimeon.bg. Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  42. ^ "Н.В. Цар Симеон II | Новини -> Н. В. Цар Симеон ІІ бе удостоен с наградата на Паневропейския съюз за големия му принос за европейската интеграция на България". Kingsimeon.bg. 18 November 2010. Archived from the original on 10 January 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  43. ^ "Н.В. Цар Симеон II | Новини -> Под заглавие "Ексклузивно от Букурещ – Симеон II посрещнат с почести" списание Hello публикува три страници за посещението на Техни Величества в румънската столица". Kingsimeon.bg. 16 December 2012. Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  44. ^ "Simeón de Bulgaria recibe el título de hijo adoptivo de Madrid". El Mundo. 30 September 2004.
  45. ^ "Н.В. Цар Симеон II | Новини -> Царят е патрон на Деня на България в Загреб". Kingsimeon.bg. 24 May 2010. Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.


  • Ramon Perez-Maura, El rey possible: Simeon de Bulgaria, Belacqua, Madrid, 2002 (ISBN 8495894238)
  • Simeon II de Bulgarie, Sébastien de Courtois, Un destin singulier, Flammarion, 2014 (ISBN 9782081314672)



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


  • The Daily Telegraph, Obituary for "HM Queen Ioanna of the Bulgarians", London, 28 February 2000.
Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 16 June 1937
Regnal titles
Preceded by Tsar of Bulgaria
Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Bulgaria
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Prince Alexander Ernst
Line of succession to the former Saxe-Coburg and Gotha throne
9th position
Succeeded by