Alexander von Battenberg, Prince of Bulgaria

During the long struggle to establish a Bulgarian state outside the Ottoman Empire there was little agreement on how to govern the new state. Many of the Bulgarian activists and revolutionaries, like Levski and Botev were republicans who wanted ‘a decent and honest republic’ in the words of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski. But in 19th century Europe, ‘Republic’ had the whiff of revolution and of Paris in 1789. Many voices, including the influential Russian court favoured a Monarchy. And that was to be the destiny of Bulgaria for the first period of Independence. From Liberation until the Referendum of 1946, Bulgaria had a prince or a king as head of state. We are accustomed to thinking of Ferdinand, Boris and Simeon as the rulers. The House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha provided the rulers from 1886 to 1946 but there was an interlude before they appeared on the scene.

To most of us in Bri
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