|48th Prime Minister of Bulgaria|
24 July 2001 – 17 August 2005
|Deputy||Nikolay Vasilev |
|Preceded by||Ivan Kostov|
|Succeeded by||Sergei Stanishev|
|Political party||Independent (2009–present)|
|National Movement for Stability and Progress (2001–2009)|
|Alma mater||Valley Forge Military Academy and College|
|Tsar of Bulgaria|
|Reign||28 August 1943 – 15 September 1946|
|Successor||Monarchy abolished |
as Acting President
|7th Head of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry|
|Tenure||14 April 2010 – 2 January 2012|
|Predecessor||Prince Johannes Heinrich|
|Successor||Princess Marie Louise of Bulgaria|
|Born||16 June 1937|
Sofia, Kingdom of Bulgaria
|Spouse||Margarita Gómez-Acebo (m. 1962)|
|House||Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry|
|Father||Boris III of Bulgaria|
|Mother||Giovanna of Italy|
|Bulgarian royal family|
HRH The Princess of Koháry
Simeon II of Bulgaria (Bulgarian: Симеон Борисов Сакскобургготски, (transliteration: Simeon Borisov Sakskoburggotski) or Цар Симеон II (Tsar Simeon II); German: Simeon von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha or Simeon von Wettin; Spanish: Simeón de Sajonia-Coburgo-Gotha; born 16 June 1937) is the last reigning Bulgarian monarch and later served as Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 2001 to 2005.
During his reign from 1943 to 1946 as Simeon II, Tsar of Bulgaria, he was a minor, with the royal authority being exercised over the kingdom on his behalf by a regency led by Simeon's uncle Prince Kiril, General Nikola Mihov and the prime minister, Bogdan Filov. In 1946 the monarchy was abolished as a consequence of a referendum, and Simeon was forced into exile. He returned to his home country in 1996 and formed the political party National Movement for Stability and Progress (NMSP) and became Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria from July 2001 until August 2005. In the next elections he, as a leader of NMSP, took part in a coalition government with the ex-communist party BSP, and in 2009 after NMSP failed to win any seats in the Parliament, he left politics.
Simeon is one of the two last living heads of state from the time of World War II (the other is Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet), the only living person who has borne the title "Tsar", and one of only two former monarchs in history to have become the head of government through democratic elections (the other is the now-deceased Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia).
Simeon was born to Boris III 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. He acceded 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. Since Tsar Simeon was only six years old when he ascended the throne, his uncle Prince Kyril, Prime Minister Bogdan Filov, and Lt. General Nikola Mikhov of the Bulgarian Army were appointed regents.
Under his father, Bulgaria had reluctantly joined the Axis powers in World War II but had 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 1945.
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 Tsvetko 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 abolition of the monarchy, and the boy-king Simeon was deposed.
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 and his legal capacity to sign such an instrument would be questionable in any event, nor at any time later. The royal family first went to Alexandria, Egypt, where Queen Giovanna's father Vittorio Emanuele III, the former king of Italy, lived in exile. There, Simeon II finished Victoria College (along with Crown Prince Leka of Albania). In July 1951, General Franco's dictatorship in Spain granted asylum to the family.
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", and graduated as a second lieutenant. Once again in Spain (between 1959 and 1962), Simeon studied law and business administration.
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.
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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.
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. All of his sons received names of Bulgarian kings, his daughter has a Bulgarian name, although only two of his eleven grandchildren have Bulgarian names (Boris and Sofia).
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 cheering: "We want our King!" He did not, at that point, make any political announcements or moves. However, these monarchist sentiments gradually disappeared after his premiership and specifically during his coalition as a leader of NMSP with the ex-Communist Party, together with changing of generations; since today the majority of voters were born after the fall of the monarchy.
Various estates in Bulgaria that had been nationalised 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) (later renamed to NMSP), dedicated to "reforms and political integrity." 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.
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 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 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.
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.
Simeon II wrote an autobiography in French under the title Simeon II de Bulgarie, un destin singulier that was released in Bulgaria on 28 October 2014. It was first presented at the headquarters of the UNESCO in Paris on 22 October 2014.
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 and his descendants from his morganatic marriage with Sarah Aurelia Halasz, Simeon became the Head of the House of Saxe-Coburg and 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 (and those of his children) to the headship of the House and the title "Princess of Koháry" to his sister Marie Louise. In a statement published on its website on 1 May 2015, the Bulgarian Patriarchy announced that Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha will be referred to as king of Bulgaria in all public and private services held in the dioceses of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
Simeon turned 80 years old on 16 June 2017. If he lives to 31 December 2024, he will become the longest-lived head of state in Bulgarian history at 87 years, 198 days, surpassing Ferdinand I who holds the current record at 87 years, and 197 days when he died on 10 September 1948.
Simeon II of the Bulgarians
|Reference style||His Majesty|
|Spoken style||Your Majesty|
Mr. Prime Minister
|Ancestors of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha|
In addition to the books listed in the References, the following may be mentioned:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Simeon II of Bulgaria.|
Cadet branch of the House of WettinBorn: 16 June 1937
| Tsar of Bulgaria
as Tsar of Bulgaria
| Head of State of Bulgaria
as Tsar of Bulgaria
as Acting President of Bulgaria
| Prime Minister of Bulgaria
|Titles in pretence|
||— TITULAR —
Tsar of Bulgaria
HH Prince Alexander Ernst of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
| Line of succession to the former Saxe-Coburg and Gotha throne