Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Vrana Palace is returned to King Simeon and Princess Marie Louise


The Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cessation issued a final statement on the ownership of the Vrana Palace estate.  The court's ruling, which cannot be appealed, is in favor of former King Simeon of Bulgaria and his older sister, Princess Marie Louise.  

The Vrana Palace was the summer residence of the Bulgarian royal family until 1946.  Simeon's grandfather King Ferdinand bought the land in 1898.  A two-story hunting lodge and a palace were built on the land, which is surrounded by a park that includes a lake and several gardens.  The park has been opened to the public since 2013.

Simeon was only six years old when he succeeded his father King Boris III, who died on August 28, 1943, following a trip to Germany. 

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A year later in September 1944,  Red Army troops moved into Bulgaria after the Soviet Union declared war on the small Balkan nation.   The following day on September 9, the three regents, which included the young king's uncle, Prince Kyril were arrested.   They were executed by the Communists in February 1945.

The young king with his mother, Queen Giovanna, and his sister, Princess Marie Louise remained at Varna Palace, near Sofia, until September 1945.   A Soviet-controlled referendum on the monarchy was held in September where 95.6 voted to abolish the monarchy.  The presence of Soviet troops helped to secure the rigged vote.   

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 The royal family went into exile shortly after the referendum, joining Queen Giovanna's parents, King Vittorio Emanuele and Queen Elena in Alexandria, Egypt.  In 1951, Spanish dictator Francisco Franco gave asylum to the exiled Bulgarian royal family.

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 In 1962, King Simeon married a Spanish aristocrat, Margarita Gómez-Acebo y Cejuela.  They had four sons,  Crown Prince Kardam,  Prince Kyril, Prince Kubrat, Prince Konstantin-Assen, and one daughter, Princess Kalina.

In Spain, the family uses the surname Sajonia-Coburgo-Gotha.   

In 1996, Simeon, who had received a Bulgarian passport in 1990, returned to the county 50 years after he and his family had been sent into exile.   He was elected Prime Minister in 2001 and served until 2005.

Today, the 85-year-old king and his wife divided their time between Bulgaria, at Vrana Palace, and Spain.   His heir apparent is his grandson, Prince Boris, the elder of two sons of the late Crown Prince Kardam who died in 2015 as the result of injuries suffered in a car accident in August 2008. 

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A review of King Simeon's autobiography, A Unique Destiny is reviewed here.

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