Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was one of the ruling Thuringian dukes of the House of Wettin. As progenitor of a line of Coburg princes who, in the 19th and 20th centuries, mounted the thrones of several European realms, he is a patrilineal ancestor of, among others, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, King Philippe of Belgium and King Simeon II of Bulgaria, he was the eldest son of Ernest Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Sophia Antonia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. He received a private and comprehensive education and became an art connoisseur. Francis initiated a major collection of books and illustrations for the duchy in 1775, which expanded to a 300,000-picture collection of copperplate engravings housed in the Veste Coburg, he was commissioned into the allied army in 1793 when his country was invaded by the Revolutionary armies of France. The allied forces included Hanoverians and the British, he fought in several actions against the French. Francis succeeded his father as reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld in 1800.
In the discharge of his father's debts the Schloss Rosenau had passed out of the family but in 1805 he bought back the property as a summer residence for the ducal family. Emperor Francis II dissolved the Holy Roman Empire on 6 August 1806, after its defeat by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz. Duke Francis died 9 December 1806. On 15 December 1806, Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, along with the other Ernestine duchies, entered the Confederation of the Rhine as the Duke and his ministers planned. In Hildburghausen on 6 March 1776, Francis married Princess Sophie of Saxe-Hildburghausen, a daughter of his Ernestine kinsman, Duke Ernst Friedrich II, she died on 28 October 1776, only seven months after her wedding. There were no children born from this marriage. In Ebersdorf on 13 June 1777, Francis married Countess Augusta Reuss-Lobenstein-Ebersdorf, they had ten children, seven of whom survived to adulthood: His male-line descendants established ruling houses in Belgium, United Kingdom and Bulgaria, while retaining the duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha until 1918.
His son Leopold ruled as Leopold I of the Belgians. A grandson reigned jure uxoris as King Ferdinand II of Portugal while a great-grandson named Ferdinand became the first modern king of Bulgaria. One of his granddaughters was Empress Carlota of Mexico, while another was Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom; the latter's son, Edward VII, a patrilineal as well as matrilineal great-grandson of Francis, inaugurated the male line which wore the British crown until the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952. August Beck: Franz Friedrich Anton, Herzog von Sachsen-Koburg-Saalfeld. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie vol. VII, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1877, p. 296. Carl-Christian Dressel: Die Entwicklung von Verfassung und Verwaltung in Sachsen-Coburg 1800 - 1826 im Vergleich, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-428-12003-1. Christian Kruse: Franz Friedrich Anton von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld: 1750 - 1806, in: Jahrbuch der Coburger Landesstiftung, Coburg 1995
Ferdinand II of Portugal
Dom Ferdinand II was a German prince of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry, King of Portugal jure uxoris as the husband of Queen Maria II, from the birth of their son in 1837 to her death in 1853. In keeping with Portuguese law, only after the birth of his son in 1837 did he acquire the title of king. Ferdinand's reign came to an end with the death of his wife in 1853, but he served as regent for his son and successor, King Pedro V, until 1855, he and Maria founded the House of Braganza-Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which would rule Portugal until 1910. Born Ferdinand August Franz Anton in Vienna, he was the eldest son of Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and his wife Princess Maria Antonia Koháry de Csábrág, heiress to the House of Koháry; the younger Ferdinand grew up in several places: the family estates in modern-day Slovakia, the imperial court of Austria, Germany. He was a nephew of King Leopold I of Belgium, thus a first cousin to Leopold II of Belgium and Empress Carlota of Mexico, as well as Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and her husband Prince Albert.
In 1826, his title changed from Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld to Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, following the re-arrangement of the Saxon duchies. According to Portuguese law, the husband of a queen regnant could only be titled king after the birth of an heir from that marriage. After the birth of their eldest son and heir, the future Pedro V of Portugal, Ferdinand was proclaimed King Dom Fernando II. Although it was Maria who reigned by right, the royal couple formed an effective team during their joint reign, with Ferdinand reigning by himself during his wife's pregnancies. Maria II died as a result of the birth of their eleventh child, Ferdinand II's reign ended. However, he would assume the regency of Portugal from 1853 to 1855, during the minority of his son King Pedro V. In 1869 he rejected an offer to assume the throne of Spain. Ferdinand was an artistically minded man with modern and liberal ideas, he was adept at etching and painting aquarelles. He was the president of the Royal Academy of Sciences and the Arts, Lord Protector of the University of Coimbra and Grand-Master of the Rosicrucians.
In 1838, he acquired the former Hieronymite monastery of Our Lady of Pena, built by King Manuel I in 1511 on the top of the hill above Sintra and had been left unoccupied since 1834, when the religious orders were suppressed in Portugal. The monastery consisted of the cloister and its outbuildings, the chapel, the sacristy and the bell tower, which today form the northern section of the Pena National Palace. Ferdinand began by making repairs to the former monastery, according to the historical sources of that time, was in poor condition, he refurbished the whole of the upper floor, replacing the fourteen cells used by the monks with larger-sized rooms and covering them with the vaulted ceilings that can still be seen today. In 1843, the king decided to enlarge the palace by building a new wing with larger rooms, ending in a circular tower next to the new kitchens; the building work was directed by the Baron von Eschwege, a wild architectural fantasy in an eclectic style full of symbolism that could be compared with the castle Neuschwanstein of King Ludwig II of Bavaria.
The palace was built in such a way as to be visible from any point in the park, which consists of a forest and luxuriant gardens with over five hundred different species of trees originating from the four corners of the earth. Ferdinand would spend his last years in this castle with his second wife, receiving the greatest artists of his time. In 1836 Ferdinand married Maria II, Queen Regnant of Portugal, the daughter and heiress of the late King Pedro IV. Eleven children were born to the royal couple before Maria died of complications due to childbirth in 1853. Ferdinand was destined to outlive eight of his eleven children. In late 1861, an attack of cholera or typhoid fever struck the royal family and Ferdinand suffered the tragedy of witnessing the death of three of his five surviving sons. In his life, Ferdinand married again in Lisbon on 10 June 1869 to actress Elisa Hensler. Just before the marriage, she was created Gräfin von Edla by Ferdinand's cousin Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
The couple had no children. 29 October 1816 – 12 November 1826: His Serene Highness Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Duke of Saxony 12 November 1826 – 1 January 1836: His Serene Highness Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Saxony 1 January 1836 – 16 September 1837: His Royal Highness The Prince Consort of Portugal 16 September 1837 – 15 November 1853: His Most Faithful Majesty The King of Portugal and the Algarves 15 November 1853 – 15 December 1885: His Most Faithful Majesty King Ferdinand II of Portugal Kingdom of Portugal: Sash of the Three Orders Kingdom of Portugal: Grand Cross of the Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa Kingdom of Portugal: Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword Kingdom of Portugal: Medal of Distinguished Service
Leopold II of Belgium
Leopold II was King of the Belgians from 1865 to 1909. Born in Brussels as the second but eldest surviving son of Leopold I and Louise of Orléans, he succeeded his father to the Belgian throne in 1865 and reigned for 44 years until his death – the longest reign of any Belgian monarch, he died without surviving male heirs. The current Belgian king descends from his nephew and successor, Albert I. Leopold was the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State, a private project undertaken on his own behalf, he used Henry Morton Stanley to help him lay claim to the Congo, the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the Berlin Conference of 1884–1885, the colonial nations of Europe authorized his claim by committing the Congo Free State to improving the lives of the native inhabitants. From the beginning, Leopold ignored these conditions, he ran the Congo using the mercenary Force Publique for his personal enrichment. He extracted a fortune from the territory by the collection of ivory, after a rise in the price of rubber in the 1890s, by forced labour from the native population to harvest and process rubber.
He used great sums of the money from this exploitation for public and private construction projects in Belgium during this period. He donated the private buildings to the state before his death. Leopold's administration of the Congo was marred by murder and other atrocities, his regime was characterized by notorious systematic brutality. The hands of men and children were amputated when the quota of rubber was not met. Thousands were sold into slavery; these and other facts were established at the time by eyewitness testimony and on-site inspection by an international Commission of Inquiry. Millions of the Congolese people died: modern estimates range from one million to 15 million deaths, with a consensus growing around 10 million; some historians argue against this figure due to the absence of reliable censuses, the enormous mortality of diseases such as smallpox or sleeping sickness, the fact that there were only 175 administrative agents in charge of rubber exploitation. In 1908 reports of deaths and abuse in the Congo induced the Belgian government to take over the administration of the Congo, free from Leopold's oversight.
Leopold was born in Brussels on 9 April 1835, the second child of the reigning Belgian monarch, Leopold I, of his second wife, the daughter of King Louis Philippe of France. The French Revolution of 1848 forced Louis Philippe to flee to the United Kingdom; the British monarch, Queen Victoria, was Leopold II's first cousin, as Leopold's father and Victoria's mother were siblings. Louis Philippe died two years in 1850. Leopold's fragile mother was affected by the death of her father, her health deteriorated, she died of tuberculosis that same year. Three years in 1853, at the age of 18, he married Marie Henriette of Austria in Brussels on 22 August. Marie Henriette was a cousin of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, granddaughter of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor through her father, Austrian archduke Joseph. Marie Henriette was lively and energetic, endeared herself to the people by her character and benevolence, her beauty gained for her the sobriquet of "The Rose of Brabant", she was an accomplished artist and musician.
She was passionate about horseback riding to the point that she would care for her horses personally. Some joked about this "marriage of a stableman and a nun", the shy and withdrawn Leopold referred to as the nun. Four children were born of this marriage, three daughters and one son named Leopold; the younger Leopold died in 1869 at the age of nine from pneumonia after falling into a pond. His death was a source of great sorrow for King Leopold; the marriage became unhappy, the couple separated after a last attempt to have another son, a union that resulted in the birth of their last daughter Clementine. Marie Henriette retreated to Spa in 1895, died there in 1902. Leopold had many mistresses. In 1899, in his sixty-fifth year, Leopold took as a mistress Caroline Lacroix, a sixteen-year-old French prostitute, they remained together for the next decade until his death. Leopold lavished upon her large sums of money, gifts, a noble title, Baroness Vaughan. Owing to these gifts and the unofficial nature of their relationship, Caroline was unpopular among the Belgian people and internationally.
She and Leopold married secretly in a religious ceremony five days before his death. Their failure to perform a civil ceremony rendered the marriage invalid under Belgian law. After the king's death, it was soon discovered that he had left Caroline a large fortune, which the Belgian government and Leopold's three estranged daughters tried to seize as rightfully theirs. Caroline bore two sons who were Leopold's; as Leopold's older brother named Louis Philippe, had died the year before Leopold's birth, Leopold was heir to the throne from his birth. When he was 9 years old, Leopold received the title of Duke of Brabant, was appointed a sub-lieutenant in the army, he served in the army until his accession in 1865, by which time he had reached the rank of lieutenant-general. Leopold's public career began on his attaining the age of majority in 1855, when he became a member of the Belgian Senate, he took an active interest in the senate in matters concerning the development of Belgium and its trade, began to urge Belgium's acquisition of colonies.
Leopold traveled extensively abroad from 1854 to 1865, visiting India, China and the countries on the Mediterranean
Maria II of Portugal
Dona Maria II "the Educator" or "the Good Mother", reigned as Queen of Portugal from 1826 to 1828, again from 1834 to 1853. Born in Rio de Janeiro, she was the first child of Emperor Pedro I of Brazil and his first wife, Empress Maria Leopoldina and thus a member of the House of Braganza. One of the two surviving children born when Pedro was still heir apparent to Portugal, she inherited Portuguese titles and was placed in the line of succession to the former Portuguese throne after becoming a member of the Brazilian Imperial Family, from which she was excluded in 1835 after her definitive ascension to the Portuguese throne. Maria II was born Maria da Glória Joana Carlota Leopoldina da Cruz Francisca Xavier de Paula Isidora Micaela Gabriela Rafaela Gonzaga at 4 April 1819 in the Palace of São Cristóvão in Rio de Janeiro, Kingdom of Brazil, she was the eldest daughter of the Prince Pedro de Alcântara, future King of Portugal as Pedro IV and first Emperor of Brazil as Pedro I, his first wife Maria Leopoldina, herself a daughter of Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor.
She was titled Princess of Beira upon her birth. Born in Brazil, Maria was the only European monarch to have been born outside of Europe, though she was still born in Portuguese territory; the death of Maria's grandfather, King João VI, in March 1826 sparked a succession crisis in Portugal. The king had a male heir, but Pedro had proclaimed the independence of Brazil in 1822 with himself as Emperor; the late king had a younger son, but he was exiled to Austria after leading a number of revolutions against his father and his liberal regime. Before his death, the king had nominated his favourite daughter, Isabel Maria, to serve as regent until "the legitimate heir returned to the kingdom" — but he had failed to specify which of his sons was the legitimate heir: Pedro, the liberal Emperor of Brazil, or Miguel, the absolutist exiled prince. Most people considered Pedro to be the legitimate heir, but Brazil did not want him to unite Portugal and Brazil's thrones again. Aware that his brother's supporters were ready to bring Miguel back and put him on the throne, Pedro decided for a more consensual option: he would renounce his claim to the Portuguese throne in favour of his daughter Maria, that she was to marry her uncle Miguel, who would accept the liberal constitution and act as a regent until his niece reached majority.
Miguel pretended to accept, but upon his arrival in Portugal he deposed Maria and proclaimed himself king, abrogating the liberal constitution in the process. During his reign of terror, Maria traveled to many European courts, including her maternal grandfather's in Vienna, as well as London and Paris. Maria's first reign was interrupted by the absolutist uprising led by her uncle, fiancé and regent Miguel, who proclaimed himself King of Portugal on 23 June 1828. Began the Liberal Wars that lasted until 1834, the year in which Maria was restored to the throne and Miguel exiled to Germany; the Marquis of Barbacena, arriving in Gibraltar with the princess on 3 September 1828, was informed by an emissary of what was happening in Portugal. He had the foresight to understand that Miguel had come from Vienna determined to put himself at the head of the absolutist movement, advised by Prince Klemens von Metternich, directing European politics, so it was dangerous for the young Queen to go to Vienna.
Taking responsibility, he changed the direction of the journey, departed for London, where he arrived on 7 October. English policy was not conducive to its purpose; the Duke of Wellington's office sponsored Miguel, so the asylum the Marquis had sought was not safe. Maria II was received in court with the honors due to her high hierarchy, but the British prevented their subjects there emigres to go to reinforce the garrison of the island Terceira. Miguel's coup d'état had not gone unrevealed. On 16 May 1828, the garrison of Porto revolted, in Lagos an infantry battalion; the revolts were stifled. Saldanha and others, who had come to take charge of the movement in Porto, re-embarked on Belfast ship, which had brought them. At the head of a small liberal expedition, the Marquis of Saldanha attempted to disembark in Terceira, but was not allowed to take the English cruise, whose vigilance he could not avoid for some time after the Count of Vila Flor of Terceira, was able to disembark. In time, because in August 1829 appeared in front of the island a huge Miguelist squad that sent to soil a body of disembarkation.
There was the Battle of August 11 in the village of Praia, where the miguelists were defeated. When the emigrants in England received the news of the victory, they felt great enthusiasm, they soon lost hope of knowing that the young queen was returning to the Brazilian Empire to her father. In fact, the situation of Maria II in the English court, next to the ministry in the power, became embarrassing and humiliating; the Queen left London to meet Amélie of Leuchtenberg. They left together on 30 August 1829 for Rio de Janeiro, arriving on 16 October; the constitutional cause was thought to have been lost. The dispersed emigres were divided into rival factions. Only Terceira Island recognized the constitutional principles, there appeared miguelists guerillas. France was ready to recognize Miguel's government when the revolution of July broke out in Paris in 1830, which encouraged the Portuguese liberals. In 7 April 1831, Pedro I abdicated the im
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry
The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry is the Catholic cadet branch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, founded after the marriage of Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Princess Maria Antonia Koháry de Csábrág. Among its descendants were the last four kings of Portugal and the last three Tsars of Bulgaria. After the marriage of Prince Ferdinand and Princess Maria Antonia in January 1816 and the death of his father-in-law, Prince Ferencz József Koháry de Csábrág, in 1826, Prince Ferdinand inherited the Hungarian princely estate of Koháry and converted to Roman Catholicism; the descendants of this branch managed to marry a queen-regnant of Portugal, an imperial princess of Brazil, an archduchess of Austria, a French royal princess, a royal princess of Belgium, a royal princess of Saxony. A scion of this branch named Ferdinand, became ruling Prince, Tsar, of Bulgaria, his descendants continued to rule there until 1946; the current head of the House of Bulgaria, the former Tsar Simeon II, deposed and exiled after World War II, goes by the name Simeon Sakskoburggotski.
He served as Bulgaria's prime minister from 2001 to 2005, which makes him one of the only two former monarchs, who have become heads of government through democratic elections. The Bulgarian director Andrey Paounov dedicated a documentary titled The Boy Who Was a King, covering the returning of Simeon II to Bulgaria, his election as prime minister and his years in government. Prince Ferdinand and Princess Maria Antonia had four children, all of whom were raised Catholic: Ferdinand, the husband of Queen Maria II of Portugal. August, the father of Ferdinand I of Bulgaria. Victoria, married Louis, Duke of Nemours. Leopold. Prince Ferdinand Prince Ferdinand Eldest Son of Prince Ferdinand co founder of House of Braganza-Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Prince August Second Son of Prince Ferdinand Prince Philipp Eldest Son of Prince August Prince Leopold Clement Only Son of Prince Phillipp Prince Pedro Augusto Nephew of Prince Phillipp Prince Rainer Nephew of Prince Pedro Augusto Prince Johannes Heinrich Only Son of Prince Rainer Prince Johannes Only Son of Prince Johannes Heinrich Tsar Simeon II of Bulgaria Cousin of Prince Johannes Heinrich Princess Marie Louise of Bulgaria Sister of Tsar Simeon II of Bulgaria After the death of Prince Ferencz József Koháry, Prince Ferdinand re-organised the family fortune in two Fideicommisses and adopted the title of duke for himself and his heirs as Fideikommissherr.
Upon Ferdinand's death in 1851, he was succeeded as head of the family by his second son, Prince August. After Prince August died, his eldest son Prince Philipp became the third head of the family; as Philipp's only son, Prince Leopold Clement, had died before him, he was succeeded by his grand-nephews Rainer and Philipp. The office of Fideikommissherr was abolished in 1938 after the Anschluss; this line was founded by Prince Ludwig August, second son of Prince August of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Princess Clémentine of Orléans, who on 15 December 1864 married in Rio de Janeiro Princess Leopoldina of Brazil. They had four sons. After the fall of the Brazilian monarchy in 1889, the family returned to Europe. Prince Rainer, appointed head of the house in 1921, was son of Prince August Leopold and grandson of Prince Ludwig August; this branch was founded by the future King Fernando II of Portugal and his wife, Queen Maria II of the House of Braganza. It ruled Portugal until the deposition of King Manuel II in 1910, after which it became extinct upon his death in 1932.
This branch was founded by Prince August's youngest son Ferdinand, elected as monarch of Bulgaria in 1887. The current Bulgarian royal family descends from him. Princess Maria Antonia Koháry inherited over 150000 hectares of land in Lower Austria and Slovakia, including estates, forests and factories. According to a list of assets appended to the marriage contract of her son, Prince August, at the time of his marriage to Princess Clémentine in 1843, the Koháry properties included the enormous Palais Koháry in the center of Vienna and several Viennese manors, a summer home and lands at Ebenthal, Lower Austria, estates in Austria at Velm, Walterskirchen and Althoflein, as well as a dozen manors in Hungary, the domaine of Kiralytia, a mansion at Pest; as late as 1868, when Antónia's grandson Prince Ferdinand, Duke of Alencon, married, it was estimated that he and his three siblings stood to inherit a total of a million francs just from their share of their late grandmother's estate. Until the first world war, her descendants were among the three largest landowners in Hungary.
Prinz Ferdinand Coburgsches Fideikommiss Gräflich Kohárysches FideikomissThe two fideicommisses allowed to hold the family property in foundations owned by the whole family, but governed by the head of the family alone, the Fideicommissherr. Aristocratic families had used this instrument to finance the representative household of the head of the family as well as to maintain palaces and castles, to pay allowances to family members without personal wealth. In 1851, a committee headed by Prince August of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha set out to plan the construction of a Roman Catholic church in Coburg with a burial vault underneath. St. Augustin was opened on 28 August 1
Ferdinand I of Bulgaria
Ferdinand I, born Ferdinand Maximilian Karl Leopold Maria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was the second monarch of the Third Bulgarian State, firstly as ruling prince from 1887 to 1908, as king from 1908 until his abdication in 1918. He was an author, botanist and philatelist. 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, he grew up in the cosmopolitan environment of Austro-Hungarian high nobility and 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, a first cousin to Queen Victoria, her husband Albert, Empress Carlota of Mexico and her brother Leopold II of Belgium. These last two and Carlota, were 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; the previous ruling prince of Bulgaria, Alexander of Battenberg, had abdicated in 1886 after a pro-Russian coup, only seven years after he had been elected. Ferdinand, an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army, was elected Prince of autonomous Bulgaria by its Grand National Assembly on 7 July 1887 in the Gregorian calendar. In desperate attempts to prevent Russian occupation of Bulgaria, the throne had been offered, before Ferdinand's acceptance, to princes from Denmark to the Caucasus and to the King of Romania.
The Russian tsar himself had nominated his aide, Nichols Dadian of Mingrelia, but his candidacy was rejected by the Bulgarians. Ferdinand's accession was greeted with disbelief in many of the royal houses of Europe. Should be stopped at once." To the amazement of his initial detractors, Ferdinand made a success during the first two decades of his reign. Bulgaria's domestic political life was dominated during the early years of Ferdinand's reign by liberal party leader Stefan Stambolov, whose foreign policy saw a marked cooling in relations with Russia seen as Bulgaria's protector. Stambolov's fall and subsequent assassination paved the way for a reconciliation of Bulgaria with Russia, effected in February 1896 with Ferdinand's decision to convert his infant son, Prince Boris, from Roman Catholicism to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. However, this move earned him the animosity of his Catholic Austrian relatives that of his uncle, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. On 5 October 1908, Ferdinand proclaimed Bulgaria's de jure independence from the Ottoman Empire.
He proclaimed Bulgaria a kingdom, assumed the title of tsar—a deliberate nod to the rulers of the earlier Bulgarian states. The Bulgarian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed by him at the Holy Forty Martyrs Church in Tarnovo, was recognized by Turkey and the other European powers. Ferdinand was known for being quite a character. On a visit to German Emperor Wilhelm II, his second cousin once removed, in 1909, Ferdinand was leaning out of a window of the New Palace in Potsdam when the Emperor came up behind him and slapped him on the bottom. Ferdinand was affronted by the gesture but the Kaiser arrogantly refused to apologize. Ferdinand however exacted his revenge by awarding a valuable arms contract he had intended to give to the Krupp's factory in Essen to French arms manufacturer Schneider-Creusot. Another incident occurred on his journey to the funeral of his second cousin, King Edward VII in 1910. A tussle broke out over where his private railway carriage would be positioned in relation to the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
The Archduke won out. Ferdinand's was placed directly behind. Realising the dining car of the train was behind his own carriage, Ferdinand obtained his revenge on the Archduke by refusing him entry through his own carriage to the dining car. On 15 July the same year during a visit to Belgium Ferdinand became the first head of state to fly in an airplane. Like many other rulers before him, Ferdinand desired the creation of a "new Byzantium". In 1912, Ferdinand joined the other Balkan states in an assault on the Ottoman Empire to free occupied territories, he saw this war as a new crusade declaring it, "a just and sacred struggle of the Cross against the Crescent." Bulgaria contributed the most and lost the greatest number of soldiers. The Great Powers insisted on the creation of an independent Albania. Though the Balkan League allies had fought together against the common enemy in the First Balkan War, not enough to o
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910. The eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Edward was related to royalty throughout Europe, he was heir apparent to the British throne and held the title of Prince of Wales for longer than any of his predecessors. He was heir presumptive to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha until before his marriage he renounced his right to the duchy, which devolved to his younger brother Alfred. During the long reign of his mother, he was excluded from political power, came to personify the fashionable, leisured elite, he travelled throughout Britain performing ceremonial public duties, represented Britain on visits abroad. His tours of North America in 1860 and the Indian subcontinent in 1875 were popular successes, but despite public approval his reputation as a playboy prince soured his relationship with his mother; as king, Edward played a role in the modernisation of the British Home Fleet and the reorganisation of the British Army after the Second Boer War.
He reinstituted traditional ceremonies as public displays and broadened the range of people with whom royalty socialised. He fostered good relations between Britain and other European countries France, for which he was popularly called "Peacemaker", but his relationship with his nephew, the German Emperor Wilhelm II, was poor; the Edwardian era, which covered Edward's reign and was named after him, coincided with the start of a new century and heralded significant changes in technology and society, including steam turbine propulsion and the rise of socialism. He died in 1910 in the midst of a constitutional crisis, resolved the following year by the Parliament Act 1911, which restricted the power of the unelected House of Lords. Edward was born at 10:48 in the morning on 9 November 1841 in Buckingham Palace, he was the eldest son and second child of Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He was christened Albert Edward at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 25 January 1842.
He was named Albert after his father and Edward after his maternal grandfather Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn. He was known as Bertie to the royal family throughout his life; as the eldest son of the British sovereign, he was automatically Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay at birth. As a son of Prince Albert, he held the titles of Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Duke of Saxony, he was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 8 December 1841, Earl of Dublin on 10 September 1849 or 17 January 1850, a Knight of the Garter on 9 November 1858, a Knight of the Thistle on 24 May 1867. In 1863, he renounced his succession rights to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in favour of his younger brother, Prince Alfred. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were determined that their eldest son should have an education that would prepare him to be a model constitutional monarch. At age seven, Edward embarked on a rigorous educational programme devised by Prince Albert, supervised by several tutors.
Unlike his elder sister Victoria, Edward did not excel in his studies. He to no avail. Although Edward was not a diligent student—his true talents were those of charm and tact—Benjamin Disraeli described him as informed, intelligent and of sweet manner. After the completion of his secondary-level studies, his tutor was replaced by a personal governor, Robert Bruce. After an educational trip to Rome, undertaken in the first few months of 1859, he spent the summer of that year studying at the University of Edinburgh under, among others, the chemist Lyon Playfair. In October, he matriculated as an undergraduate at Oxford. Now released from the educational strictures imposed by his parents, he enjoyed studying for the first time and performed satisfactorily in examinations. In 1861, he transferred to Trinity College, where he was tutored in history by Charles Kingsley, Regius Professor of Modern History. Kingsley's efforts brought forth the best academic performances of Edward's life, Edward looked forward to his lectures.
In 1860, Edward undertook the first tour of North America by a Prince of Wales. His genial good humour and confident bonhomie made the tour a great success, he inaugurated the Victoria Bridge, across the St Lawrence River, laid the cornerstone of Parliament Hill, Ottawa. He watched Charles Blondin traverse Niagara Falls by highwire, stayed for three days with President James Buchanan at the White House. Buchanan accompanied the Prince to Mount Vernon, to pay his respects at the tomb of George Washington. Vast crowds greeted him everywhere, he met Ralph Waldo Emerson and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Prayers for the royal family were said in Trinity Church, New York, for the first time since 1776; the four-month tour throughout Canada and the United States boosted Edward's confidence and self-esteem, had many diplomatic benefits for Great Britain. Edward had hoped to pursue a career in the British Army, but his mother vetoed an active military career, he had been gazetted colonel on 9 November 1858—to his disappointment, as he had wanted to earn his commission by examination.
In September 1861, Edward was sent to Germany to watch military manoeuvres, but in order to engineer a meeting between him and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, the eldest daughter of Prince Christian of Denmark and his wife Louise. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had decided that Edward and Alexandra should marry, they met at Speyer on 24 September under the auspices of his elder sister, who ha