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site.btaKing Ferdinand I to Be Buried in Bulgaria 76 Years after His Death

King Ferdinand I to Be Buried in Bulgaria 76 Years after His Death
King Ferdinand I to Be Buried in Bulgaria 76 Years after His Death
BTA Photo

The remains of King Ferdinand I (1861-1948), who reigned between 1887 and 1918, were brought to Bulgaria 76 years after his death in accordance with a decision adopted by the Council of Ministers. The remains of the first King of the Third Bulgarian Kingdom were transported from the German town of Coburg to Sofia by a military aircraft, which landed at Sofia Airport on Wednesday. 

The coffin was taken down and carried by national guardsmen and solemnly laid in a hearse, which drove to the Royal Palace of Vrana on the outskirts of Sofia. The coffin was placed in the Palace's lobby, where family members, public figures, including former prime minister and Ferdinand’s grandson Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, who reigned as the last king of Bulgaria as Simeon II from 1943 until 1946 while still a child and later served as prime minister between 2001 and 2005, former President Rosen Plevneliev (2012-2017), Sofia Mayor Vassil Terziev and members of the public paid their respects. Ferdinand's remains will be lowered into the family crypt tomb on Thursday. 

After abdicating in favour of his son Boris III in October 1918, Ferdinand lived in exile in Germany and died in the Bavarian city of Coburg on September 10, 1948, aged 87. He was laid in a temporary sarcophagus in front of his parents’ tomb in the crypt of Coburg’s St Augustine Church. His last wish was to be buried in Bulgaria. On Monday, by a church service, the residents of Coburg bid farewell to the remains of King Ferdinand I before they were brought to Sofia.

Ferdinand I of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1861-1948) was a German prince, Bulgarian Prince (June 25, 1887-September 22, 1908), and King (September 22, 1908-October 3, 1918) of Bulgaria.  On June 25, 1887, the Third Grand National Assembly elected him Prince of Bulgaria. On September 22, 1908, after the proclamation of the independence of Bulgaria, Ferdinand I was proclaimed Tsar of the Bulgarians. At the conclusion of the Armistice of Salonica (September 29, 1918, by which Bulgaria capitulated and exited World War I) the Entente (a military-political bloc between Britain, France and Russia, formed in 1904-1907) set the condition for Ferdinand I to abdicate the throne and leave Bulgaria. On October 3, 1918, he signed a manifesto renouncing the throne in favour of his son Boris III.

Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

"I see this gesture of returning King Ferdinand to Bulgaria as something that points to another view and another reading of history," Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha told the media at Vrana Palace.

"First of all, I am grateful for all this, because this is for our history of Bulgaria. It also shows that we respect our past like other nations and recognise and respect the merits of our rulers," he said.

Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha explained that the remains are in Bulgaria thanks to the work of many people.

"The curious thing is that the Germans wanted the red sarcophagus to remain there," Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha  added. In his words, it would be good to launch the idea to name a boulevard after King Ferdinand I.

Former President Rosen Plevneliev 

King Ferdinand I deserves to receive his objective assessment, because the truth is that more than one or two generations of politicians explained themselves at his expense for one national catastrophe or another, Rosen Plevneliev told journalists at Vrana Palace.

Plevneliev added that the return of Ferdinand’s remains was expected and stressed that he was happy to be part of this special ceremony.

According to Plevneliev, the strongest feature of King Ferdinand I was his courage to oppose the will of the Russian Emperor and the other great powers, and to contribute decisively to Bulgarian reunification.

Prof. Stoyanovich and Assoc. Prof. Shalafov of the initiative committee for the return of Ferdinand’s remains

 Prof. Peter Stoyanovich and Assoc. Prof. Ivaylo Shalafov said at a joint news conference at Vrana Palace that the coffin of King Ferdinand will be lowered into its tomb in the family crypt at the Royal Palace of Vrana on Thursday in the presence of a close family circle. When one day the final reconstruction of the palace is completed, there will be access to the crypt itself, added Stoyanovich, adding that preparations for the return of King Ferdinand to Bulgaria took about six months.

 Only the coffin with the remains of King Ferdinand has been brought to Bulgaria, the sarcophagus will continue to be exhibited in the tomb in Coburg, explained Stoyanovich.

/MY/

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By 18:33 on 20.06.2024 Today`s news

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