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Remains of Bulgaria’s Tsar Ferdinand I arrive in Sofia after 76 years

Remains of Bulgaria’s Tsar Ferdinand I arrive in Sofia after 76 years

Soldiers of the National Guard were placed in a coffin that left for Virana Palace.

Simeon II of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Savoy, the last king and former prime minister of Bulgaria, received in Sofia the remains of his grandfather, Tsar Ferdinand I, who died in a military plane from the German city of Coburg. 76 years ago.

Ferdinand I ruled the Balkans first as a prince between 1887 and 1908 and between 1908 and 1918 as Tsar of Bulgaria freed from the Ottoman Empire.

The Tsar’s remains rest in the crypt of St. Augustine’s Church in Coburg, in the federal state of Bavaria in southern Germany.

Ferdinand I died in 1948, after thirty years of German exile, his wish to be buried in his native Bulgaria, which is now decades overdue.

A military transport plane of the Bulgarian Air Force landed at Sofia Airport, where the coffin was lowered with honors and military honors.

After Orthodox and Catholic rites, the coffin was placed by soldiers of the National Guard and left for the Virana Palace on the outskirts of Sofia, where Simeon and his Spanish wife Margarita Gómez-Acebo live.

The remains of Ferdinand I were received at the entrance to the palace by the former monarchs, their children and relatives, and other guests.

After a solemn procession and military ceremony, the casket was finally moved to the central hall for a brief farewell in the family circle.

“With the return of King Ferdinand’s bones, Bulgaria is the last republic in Europe to take this step in the name of its own history and state,” said Simeon II.

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“This is a matter of national duty and pride,” said Associate Professor Ivaylo Shalafov, director of the Tsar Boris and Tsaritsa Jonah Fund, which is responsible for bringing Ferdinand I’s remains to the Balkans.

Ferdinand I remains a controversial figure in his country because although he was the ruler who declared Bulgaria’s independence in 1908, after 30 years under the Ottoman Empire, the country participated in three major wars that greatly reduced its territory. .

After World War I, when Bulgaria was an ally of Germany, the king abdicated in 1918, was exiled to Bavaria, and was succeeded by his son Boris III (Simeon II’s father) who joined the Nazis.

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