Simeon II 1845
- Born: 16 Jun 1937 1845
- Marriage: Dona Margarita Gomez-Acebo y Cejuela on 21 Jan 1962 1845
Other names for Simeon are Simeon Borisov Sakskoburggotski 1845 and Simeon of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.1845
Simeon II of Bulgaria (born June 16, 1937) was the last Tsar of Bulgaria from 1943 to 1946, and was Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 2001 until August 2005. He is sometimes known in the English speaking world as Simeon of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, which is the English form of his family's original German name Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha. He is the only monarch in history to regain political power through democratic election to a different office (see Norodom Sihanouk and Napoleon III for similar histories). During his job as Prime Minister he used the name of Simeon Borisov Sakskoburggotski to make a difference from his royal surname.
Simeon is the son of Tsar Boris III and Tsaritsa Giovanna (of the House of Savoy). He was baptized with water taken from the River Jordan and flown to Bulgaria by an air force major. He became Tsar on August 28, 1943 upon the sudden and suspicious death of his father, shortly after a dinner meeting with Adolf Hitler. Since Tsar Simon was only six years old upon assuming the throne, his uncle Prince Kyril of Bulgaria and two others were appointed regents. On the 9th September 1944, Kyril and the other regents were removed by a Soviet-backed coup. Kyril was soon tried and executed, as were many members of Bulgaria's educated governing classes.
Simeon was allowed to stay on the throne with regents appointed by the new Communist government. In 1946 the monarchy was abolished after a rigged referendum that claimed 95% approval. The royal family initially went to Alexandria, Egypt, where Tsaritsa Giovanna's father Victor Emanuel III, ex-king of Italy, was living in exile. In July 1951 the Spanish government of Francisco Franco granted asylum to the exiled Bulgarian royal family. In Madrid Simeon graduated from the Lycée Francais and studied law and political science. In 1955, upon turning eighteen, he proclaimed himself the Tsar of Bulgaria, in accordance with the Tarnovo Constitution. In 1958-59 he enrolled at Valley Forge Military Academy and College in the United States, where he was known as "Cadet Rylski" and graduated as a second lieutenant. Once again in Spain, Simeon studied law and business administration, and went on to become a businessman.
Marriage and Family
In 1962 Simeon married a Spanish aristocrat, Doña Margarita Gomez-Acebo y Cejuela. They had five children - four sons (Kardam, Kyril, Kubrat and Konstantin, in that order) and a daughter, Kalina, all of whom also married Spaniards. He spent most of his adult life working as a businessman: thirteen years as chairman of the Spanish subsidiary of Thomson, a French defence and electronics group, and as an advisor in the banking, hotel, electronics, and catering sectors.
> Prince Kardam, styled HRH The Prince of Turnovo (born 1962). Married Doña Miriam Ungria y López styled HRH Princess Miriam of Bulgaria. They have two sons, HRH Prince Boris and HRH Prince Beltran.
> Prince Kyrill, styled HRH The Prince of Preslav (born 1964). Married Doña Rosario Nadal y Fuster-Puigdorfila styled Princess Rosario of Bulgaria. They have two daughters, HRH Princess Mafalda and HRH Princess Olimpia, and one son, HRH Prince Tassilo.
> Prince Kubrat, styled HRH The Prince of Panagiurishte (born 1965). Married Doña Carla Maria Royo-Villanova y Urrestarazu styled HRH Princess Clara (Claire) of Bulgaria, and have three sons: HRH Prince Mirko, HRH Prince Lukás and HRH Prince Tirso.
> Prince Konstantin-Assen, styled HRH The Prince of Vidin (born 1967). Married Doña María Garcia de la Rasilla y Gortazar styled HRH Princess Maria of Bulgaria, and have twins, HRH Prince Umberto and HRH Princess Sofia.
> Princess Kalina, styled HRH The Princess Kalina of Bulgaria (born 1972). Married Don Antonio "Kitín" Muñoz Valcárcel.
In all his years of exile, Simeon never lost touch with Bulgaria. He is fluent in Bulgarian, which he speaks in a slightly courtly and old-fashioned manner, as well as in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish; he also speaks some Arabic and Portuguese.
In 1996 Simeon visited Bulgaria for the first time since his childhood. He was well-received, with thousands lining the streets cheering him and chanting "We want our tsar." In this most difficult moment of Bulgaria's modern history, when the country was in its deepest crisis, he simply toured around, knowing that it would make more sense to return at a later date.
The estates of his family in Bulgaria that had been nationalised under Communism were returned to him. At first he declared that he was willing to donate "his" forests in Rila Mountain to the eponymous National Park but later reneged on that promise. Instead, he expressed his support for a controversial Super Borovetz project which aims to expand the ski resort of Borovetz at the expense of the neighbouring forests.
In 2001 Simeon, now using the name Simeon Borisov Sakskoburggotski, saying that he wished to return for good, announced the formation of a new political party, the National Movement for Simeon II (NMSII), dedicated to "reforms and political integrity." Simeon himself promised a period of 800 days, after which the Bulgarian people would start feeling the positive effects of his government's rule and they would have a higher standard of living. These promises worked and in an election held June 17, 2001, the NMS won 120 out of 240 seats in Parliament, overturning both of Bulgaria's entrenched parties. Sakskoburggotski was sworn in as Prime Minister of Bulgaria on July 24, forming a coalition with the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF). He assembled a cabinet composed mainly of technocrats and Western-educated economic specialists, with an eye towards eventual membership in the European Union. In 2005, he formed a new coalition government consisting not only of NMSII and MRF but also of New Time, a splinter group from NMSII.
After the June 2005 elections, which were won by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), a new three-party ruling coalition was formed between BSP, MNSII and MRF. Simeon had to take a back seat and allow the much younger Socialist leader Sergey Stanishev become the Prime Minister of Bulgaria. He was given the unofficial ceremonial post of Chairman of the coalition.
Sakskoburggotski made no public commitment on whether he believes Bulgaria should restore the monarchy, saying it is a matter for the people of Bulgaria to decide. As he never formally abdicated he retains the claim to his royal title and has not renounced it. His oath to the Republican Constitution in 2001, however, was seen as a rejection of monarchy. High-ranking representatives of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (which was given a boost during Sakskoburggotski's term as Prime Minister) declared that they would join an eventual discussion about the restoration of monarchy although it seems very unlikely that the majority of Bulgarians would support the idea in a plebiscite.
Simeon's popularity faded during his four year rule as prime minister. Many Bulgarians attributed that to his inability to keep his promises, in particular the failure of the 800 days economic quick fix program to meet popular expectations. There were also allegations that his government was involved in corrupt privatisation deals.
Sakskoburggotski has always refused to take part in political debates. This has been largely attributed to both his inability to speak Bulgarian clearly and concisely and his aristocratic nature. However, no one has yet given a formal explanation why he does not take part.
At the June 25, 2005 elections, Sakskoburggotski's party polled only 20% of the vote, being overtaken by the Socialists with 31%, although no single party won a majority of seats. After nearly a month of political uncertainty, Sergei Stanishev of the Bulgarian Socialist Party undertook on July 20 to form a Cabinet. When Sakskoburggostski refused to take part in a coalition government, on July 27 the BSP formed a coalition with the MRF. Stanishev's Cabinet, however, was rejected by the Parliament. After another three weeks of deadlock, Sakskoburggotski agreed on 15 August to join a three-party coalition government headed by Stanishev. Sakskoburggotski is yet to reveal his future intentions. 1845
1. Acceded: Tsar of Bulgaria, 1943-1946. 1845
2. Occupation: Prime Minister of Bulgaria, 2001-2005. 1845
Simeon married Dona Margarita Gomez-Acebo y Cejuela on 21 Jan 1962.1845 (Dona Margarita Gomez-Acebo y Cejuela was born in 1935.)