Ferdinand I of Bulgaria

Ferdinand I
Zar Ferdinand Bulgarien.jpg
Tsar of Bulgaria
Reign5 October 1908 – 3 October 1918
PredecessorHimself as Prince
SuccessorBoris III
Prince of Bulgaria
Reign7 July 1887 – 5 October 1908
PredecessorAlexander
SuccessorHimself as Tsar
Born26 February 1861
Vienna, Austrian Empire
Died10 September 1948(1948-09-10) (aged 87)
Coburg, Allied-occupied Germany
Burial
Spouse
IssueBoris III of Bulgaria
Kiril, Prince of Preslav
Princess Eudoxia
Princess Nadezhda
Full name
German: Ferdinand Maximilian Karl Leopold Maria
HouseSaxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry
FatherPrince August of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
MotherPrincess Clémentine of Orléans
ReligionRoman Catholic
SignatureFerdinand I's signature

Ferdinand I (Bulgarian: Фердинанд I; 26 February 1861 – 10 September 1948),[1] born Ferdinand Maximilian Karl Leopold Maria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was the second monarch of the Third Bulgarian State, firstly as ruling prince (knyaz) from 1887 to 1908, and later as king (tsar) from 1908 until his abdication in 1918. He was also an author, botanist, entomologist and philatelist.

Family background

Ferdinand was born on 26 February 1861 in Vienna, a German prince of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry. He was baptised in St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna on 27 February, having as godparents Archduke Maximilian of Austria and his wife Princess Charlotte of Belgium.[2] He grew up in the cosmopolitan environment of Austro-Hungarian high nobility and also in their ancestral lands in Hungary and in Germany. The House of Koháry descended from an immensely wealthy Upper Hungarian noble family, who held the princely lands of Čabraď and Sitno in present-day Slovakia, among others. The family's property was augmented by Clémentine of Orléans' remarkable dowry.

The son of Prince August of Saxe-Coburg and his wife Clémentine of Orléans, daughter of King Louis Philippe I of the French, Ferdinand was a grandnephew of Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and of Leopold I, first king of the Belgians. His father August was a brother of King Ferdinand II of Portugal, and also a first cousin to Queen Victoria, her husband Albert, Empress Carlota of Mexico and her brother Leopold II of Belgium. These last two, Leopold and Carlota, were also first cousins of Ferdinand I's through his mother, a princess of Orléans. This made the Belgian siblings his first cousins, as well as his first cousins once removed. Indeed, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha had contrived to occupy, either by marriage or by direct election, several European thrones in the course of the 19th century. Following the family trend, Ferdinand was himself to found the royal dynasty of Bulgaria.[citation needed]