TDISH: Monarch and Prime Minister

On July 24, 2001, Simeon Borisov Saxe-Coburgotski II was sworn in as Prime Minister of Bulgaria.  With a name like that, you’d have expected him to be sitting on a European throne, not being a democratically elected Head of Government.  In fact, that is exactly what he was.  Simeon was born in 1937 to Tsar Boris III of Bulgaria.  In 1943, the king died under mysterious circumstances (rumor has it Hitler had him poisoned) and the six year old Simeon came to the throne of Bulgaria as Tsar Simeon II.  Two years later, the Bulgarian monarchy was abolished following a Communist coup in the country and Simeon went into exile.  In 2001, Simeon had grown into a powerful political figure in a now-democratic Bulgaria and was elected Prime Minister, becoming the only European monarch to hold such an office.  He remained Prime Minister until he was ousted via election in 2005.

220px-Norodom_Sihanouk_(1983).jpgThe only other case in history of a monarch also being a Prime Minister is the strange case of
King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia.  King Norodom was monarch from 1941 – 1955 when he abdicated the throne in favor of his father and was elected Prime Minister.  Norodom was then Prime Minister until 1970 when he was ousted by the Khmer Rouge.  He then returned to Cambodia in 1993 to become king again.  What a strange series of events!

Featured Image: “Simeon Borisov Saxe-Coburgotski II” Cropped from Image:Simeon_Vtori_Popovo.jpg, Public Domain.
Image 1. “King Norodom Sihanouk” By Rob C. Croes / Anefo – Nationaal Archief, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl.
Connolly, Kate. “Once Upon a Time in Bulgaria.” The Guardian. 20 June 2001.
His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk’s 84th Birthday.” Cambodia Daily Special Insert.

One thought on “TDISH: Monarch and Prime Minister

  1. Simeon was elected out of nostalgia, but nostalgia was not enough to compensate for a figurehead simply unprepared to lead a country in crisis. It’s doubtful he, his children, or the Bulgarian citizenry will try that experiment again. The monarchy’s moment was definitively shown to have passed.


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