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Simeon III
Simeon II of Bulgaria.jpg
Tsar of Bulgaria
Reign 28 August 1943 – 15 September 1946
Predecessor Boris III
Successor Vasil Kolarov (Acting President)
7th Head of the House of
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry
Tenure 14 April 2010 – present
Predecessor Prince Johannes Heinrich
Heir apparent Prince Kardam (2010–2015)
Prince Boris (2015–present)
Born (1937-06-16) 16 June 1937 (age 78)
Sofia, Bulgaria
Spouse Margarita Gómez-Acebo y Cejuela (m. 1962)
Issue Kardam, Prince of Turnovo
Kyril, Prince of Preslav
Kubrat, Prince of Panagyurishte
Konstantin-Assen, Prince of Vidin
Princess Kalina of Bulgaria
House Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry
Father King Boris III of Bulgaria
Mother Princess Giovanna of Italy
Religion Bulgarian Orthodoxy
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Bulgaria

HM The Tsar
HM The Tsaritsa

HRH The Princess of Koháry

Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Симеон Сакскобургготски
Simeon Vtori Popovo crop.jpg
48th Prime Minister of Bulgaria
In office
24 July 2001 – 17 August 2005
President Petar Stoyanov
Georgi Parvanov
Deputy Nikolay Vasilev
Lydia Shuleva
Kostadin Paskalev (2001–2002)
Kostadin Paskalev (2002–2005)
Preceded by Ivan Kostov
Succeeded by Sergei Stanishev
Personal details
Political party National Movement for Stability and Progress

Simeon Borisov Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (or Sakskoburggotski)[a] (born 16 June 1937) is a Bulgarian politician and former monarch. During his reign as Simeon II, King (or Tsar) of Bulgaria, from 1943 to 1946 he was a minor, the royal authority being exercised over the kingdom on his behalf by a regency. The regents were Simeon's uncle Prince Kiril, General Nikola Mihov and the prime minister, Bogdan Filov. In 1946 the monarchy was overthrown as a consequence of a referendum, and Simeon was forced into exile. He returned to his home country in 1996, formed the political party National Movement for Stability and Progress and became Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria from July 2001 until August 2005,[1] in the next elections he, as a leader of NDSV, took part in a coalition government with the ex-communist party BSP, and in 2008 after NDSV could not get into Parliament he left politics.

As of 2016, Simeon is one of the three last living heads of state from the time of World War II (the others are former King Michael I of Romania and Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet), the only living person who has borne the title "Tsar", and as a former monarch, one of only two monarchs in history to have become the head of government through democratic elections (Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia was the other).

Royal history[edit]

Simeon was born the son of Boris III and Giovanna of Italy. Following his birth, Boris III sent an air force officer to the River Jordan to obtain water for Simeon's baptism in the Orthodox faith.[2] He became tsar on 28 August 1943 on the death of his father, who had just returned to Bulgaria from a meeting with Adolf Hitler.[3][4] 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.[5]

On 5 September 1944 the Soviet Union 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.[5]

Towards exile[edit]

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. 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, nor later. The royal family first went to Alexandria, Egypt, where Queen Giovanna's father Victor Emanuel III, King of Italy, lived in exile. There, Simeon II finished Victoria College (along with Crown Prince Leka of Albania). In July 1951, the Spanish government granted asylum to the family.[citation needed]

Education and business career[edit]

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",[5] and graduated as a second lieutenant. Once again in Spain (between 1959 and 1962), Simeon studied law and business administration.[6]

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.

Monarch in exile[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Marriage and family[edit]

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.[5] 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).

Political return[edit]

In 1990, a few months after the fall of communism, Simeon was issued a new Bulgarian passport. In 1996, 50 years after the abolition of the monarchy, Simeon returned to Bulgaria and was met in many places by crowds cheering: "We want our King!"[7] He did not, at that point, make any political announcements or moves. However these sentiments gradually disappeared after his premiership and specifically during his coalition as a leader of NDSV with the ex-communist party, together with changing of generations since today a majority of voters were born after the fall of the monarchy.

Various estates in Bulgaria that had been nationalized 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), dedicated to "reforms and political integrity."[8] 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.[9]

Prime Minister[edit]

For details on his cabinet, see: Sakskoburggotski Government

NMSII 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 2002, his efforts were recognized by his receiving the 2002 Path to Peace Award from the Path to Peace Foundation.[10] During his time in power, Bulgaria joined EC and NATO.

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.[8]

The party got just 3.01% of votes and no seats at the parliamentary elections of 2009. Shortly after, on 6 July, Simeon also resigned as NMSII leader.[11]

Views on restoration of the Bulgarian monarchy[edit]

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.[citation needed] It was first presented at the headquarters of the UNESCO in Paris on 22 October 2014.[12]

Heir to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry[edit]

Sakskoburggotski in 2015

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 Josias Maria Joseph Ignatius Michael Gabriel Raphael Gonzaga (Walterskirchen, 18 August 1901 – 31 December 1994) children and 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 to the headship of the princely house of Koháry to his sister Princess Marie Louise of Bulgaria.[13] 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 diocese of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.[14]

Titles, styles, honours and awards[edit]

Styles of
Simeon II of the Bulgarians
Royal Monogram of King Simeon II of Bulgaria.svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir


Royal titles[edit]

  • 16 June 1937 – 28 August 1943: His Royal Highness Prince Simeon of Bulgaria, The Prince of Turnovo, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Saxony
  • 28 August 1943 – Present: His Majesty King Simeon II of the Bulgarians

Official titles[edit]

  • 16 June 1937 – 28 August 1943: His Royal Highness Prince Simeon of Bulgaria, The Prince of Turnovo, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Saxony
  • 28 August 1943 – 15 September 1946: His Majesty King Simeon II of the Bulgarians
  • 15 September 1946 – 24 July 2001: Mr Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
  • 24 July 2001 – 17 August 2005: His Excellency Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha of Bulgaria[15]
  • 17 August 2005 – present: Mr Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha


National honours[edit]

National dynastic honours[edit]
National state honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]


National awards[edit]

Foreign awards[edit]


National patronages[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bulgarian: Симеон Борисов Сакскобургготски, transl. Simeon Borisov Sakskoburggotski or Цар Симеон II; German: Simeon von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha or Simeon von Wettin; Italian: Simeone di Sassonia-Coburgo-Gotha
  1. ^ "Bulgaria". BBC - Country Profiles. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Kate Connolly. "Once upon a time in Bulgaria | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "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
  4. ^ Theo Aronson, Crowns in Conflict, p.202. London: John Murray (Publishers) Ltd., 1986. ISBN 0-7195-4279-0
  5. ^ a b c d Geoffrey Hindley, The Royal Families of Europe, p. 156. London: Lyric Books Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-07-093530-0
  6. ^ Lilov 2013, p. 89.
  7. ^ "Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha - Prime Minister of Bulgaria". web.archive.org. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Lilov 2013, p. 91.
  9. ^ Lilov 2013, p. 93.
  10. ^ "The Path to Peace Foundation homepage". Thepathtopeacefoundation.org\accessdate=24 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "Симеон Сакскобургготски подаде оставка" (in Bulgarian). Труд. 6 July 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  12. ^ "Simeon II of Bulgaria presents a preview of his autobiography at UNESCO | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization". Unesco.org. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  13. ^ Paul Theroff. "Bulgaria". Angelfire.com. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Enthroned by Holy Synod - News - BULGARIAN NEWS AGENCY". Bta.bg. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  15. ^ "Letter from Prime Minister Simeon Saxe Coburg Gotha to President Bush (September 13)". Bulgaria-embassy.org. 13 September 2001. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Blogspot.com, King Simeon wearing his orders and medal at the Luxembourg Royal wedding
  17. ^ http://www.corbisimages.com/stock-photo/rights-managed/U1079409/count-de-bizi-kissing-princess-marie?popup=1
  18. ^ a b c d e Blogspot.com, King Simeon wearing his orders at the Swedish Royal wedding
  19. ^ a b c d e f http://www.kingsimeon.bg/en/, King Simeon wearing his orders in an official photo
  20. ^ "Photographic image" (JPG). Kingsimeon.bg. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  21. ^ "Н.В. Цар Симеон II | Великият магистър на българските ордени". Kingsimeon.bg. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  22. ^ "Oct 19 - King Simeon II of Bulgaria and Queen Margarita of Bulgaria attend the Gala dinner in Luxembourg. | BULGARIA ( NO REINANTE )". Pinterest. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n http://www.kingsimeon.bg/en/, page with Simeon's honours
  24. ^ http://www.kingsimeon.bg/en/2007/06/rech-na-tsar-simeon-ii-na-tseremoniyata-po-vr/
  25. ^ "One World magazine - COUBURGS". Oneworld-bg.net. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  26. ^ "Н.В. Цар Симеон II | Новини -> Симеон II получи най-високото отличие на Министерството на правосъдието". Kingsimeon.bg. 26 May 2009. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  27. ^ "Queen Anne of Romania and Princess Lilian of Belgium followed by King... News Photo". Getty Images. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  28. ^ http://www.kingsimeon.bg/wp-content/gallery/gallery-106/gallery-106_031.jpg
  29. ^ "Photographic image" (JPG). 1.bp.blogspot.com. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  30. ^ "Photographic image" (JPG). Tb.ziareromania.ro. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  31. ^ "radical royalist: 25 years ago Empress Zita of Austria passed away". Radicalroyalist.blogspot.co.uk. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  32. ^ http://www.kingsimeon.bg/en/2011/06/tsarskoto-semejstvo-be-gost-na-priema-v/
  33. ^ http://www.kingsimeon.bg/wp-content/gallery/gallery-106/gallery-106_002.jpg
  34. ^ http://www.kingsimeon.bg/en/2013/02/tehni-velichestva-prisastvaha-v-rim-na/
  35. ^ The Royal House of the Two Sicilies (2008). "MEMBERSHIP OF THE ROYAL ILLUSTRIUOS ORDER OF ST. JANUARIUS". g/ The Royal House of the Two Sicilies. Retrieved 26 October 2008. 
  36. ^ Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George (2008). "Membership of the Constantinian Order". g/ Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  37. ^ http://saintanna.ru/?lang=rus&id=60
  38. ^ http://saintanna.ru/?lang=eng&id=10
  39. ^ King Simeon behind Crown Prince Leka wearinf the Collar
  40. ^ BOLETIN OFICIAL DEL ESTADO (2 October 2004). "BOE 238 de 02/10/2004 Sec 3 Pag 33224 a. 33224" (PDF). Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  41. ^ "King Simeon II of Bulgaria Photos - Zimbio". M.zimbio.com. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  42. ^ "7 julio 1955 B. O. del E—Núm. 188" (PDF). 28 May 2009. p. 4084. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  43. ^ "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. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  44. ^ "Н.В. Цар Симеон II | Новини -> Негово Величество получи почетния знак на българските читалища". Kingsimeon.bg. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  45. ^ "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. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  46. ^ "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. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  47. ^ "Н.В. Цар Симеон II | Новини -> Царят е патрон на Деня на България в Загреб". Kingsimeon.bg. 24 May 2010. 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
Lilov, Grigor (2013). Най-богатите българи (1st ed.). Sofia: „Кайлас” ЕООД. ISBN 978-954-92098-9-1. 


  • The Daily Telegraph, Obituary for "HM Queen Ioanna of the Bulgarians", London, 28 February 2000.

External links[edit]

Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 16 June 1937
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Boris III
Tsar of Bulgaria
Government offices
Preceded by
Boris III
as Tsar of Bulgaria
Head of State of Bulgaria
as Tsar of Bulgaria

Succeeded by
Vasil Kolarov
as Acting President of Bulgaria
Political offices
Preceded by
Ivan Kostov
Prime Minister of Bulgaria
Succeeded by
Sergei Stanishev
Titles in pretence
New title
Tsar of Bulgaria
Preceded by
HH Prince Alexander Ernst of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Line of succession to the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha throne
9th position
Succeeded by

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