Friday, October 31, 2014

Ferdinand in Paris for years with ambition to be king

October 31, 1908

Ferdinand of Bulgaria planned to be king for "a long time," reports the New York Times.  He visited Paris often, making sure he visited French officials.

"Bulgarians are friends, admirers, and pupils of France," he once said.  "They owe their civilization and their liberty to France."

He was "tireless" in his pursuit, and French diplomats would try to avoid him so they would not have to talk with him. 

During his final years as the French president,  Loubet "received many visits" from Prince Ferdinand, who "attempted to talk to him in his usual matter."  President Loubet was very clever, and "always managed to change the subject. 

On one occasion, Prince Ferdinand was en route to a hunt at Rambouillet, and was on the same train, with the French president.  As usual, Ferdinand tried to dominate the conversation.  "The Bulgarians are the friends ...." Ferdinand said, but Loubet quickly interrupted, by saying "Your Highness shall I tell you the story of my first election?  It is a curious story."

President Loubet rambled on until the train reached Rambouillet.

Prince Ferdinand was "something of a fop" before he became Prince of Bulgaria.  He used to visit Chantilly as a "perfumed dandy," but is now "completely changed."

He has four children by his late first wife, Princess Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma.   After the birth of the fourth child,  Prince Ferdinand, then experiencing serious political difficulties, and to resolve the situation, he announced that his eldest son, Boris, would convert to the Orthodox faith.

Marie Louise, a devout Roman Catholic, would not agree to Ferdinand's decision.  He had to "employ a ruse," and Marie Louise was only "informed of Boris' abjuration of Catholicism after the deed was accomplished."

The news hastened the Princess' death, and had the "effect of loosening the ties" between Ferdinand and his Orleans cousins.  They stopped going to Bulgaria, although would "receive him in Paris.

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