Monday, September 12, 2011

The death of a Queen

September 12, 1917

BULLETIN.   Queen Eleonore of Bulgaria died in Sofia this afternoon.  She "had been ill for some time," reports the New York Times.    She was 57 years old.

King Ferdinand and his two sons, Crown Prince Boris, and Prince Cyril, were at the queen's bedside when she died.

Eleonore, known as the "Royal Nurse" in European circles,  cared for wounded soldiers during the Russo-Japanese and Balkan wars.  She was born Princess Eleonore Caroline Gasparine Louise, the daughter of Prince Heinrich IV, a member of the younger branch of the Reuss-Kostriz princely family.

She married King Ferdinand as his second wife in 1908.   The first news of her illness was published yesterday in a dispatch sent to Amsterdam.  The dispatch stated that she was "seriously ill," and the King and his two sons had "hurried to Sofia to her bedside."

The Queen was described as a "practical woman," devoted to the nursing profession. After her marriage to King Ferdinand,  she "took a personal and active interest" in the Red Cross. She worked as a nurse at the front, and also in the hospital that she "founded in Sofia."

She worked "so hard that her health became impaired," and King Ferdinand had "requested" that she give up nursing and return to the palace to live. He "detested hospitals or anything to do with medicines."

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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