|Queen Margarita and King Simeon II on their religious wedding day.
Today, Their Majesties King Simeon II and Queen Margarita of Bulgaria celebrate sixty years of marriage!
|Simeon and Margarita discuss their engagement, 1961.
|The engagement ring.
The engagement of the couple was announced on 10 August 1961 by the Simeon’s mother Giovanna: “Her Majesty the Queen Mother of Bulgaria is pleased to announce the engagement of her son Simeon, King of the Bulgarians, with Señorita Margarita Gómez-Acebo y Cejuela.” That day at noon, the King and his fiancée held a press conference at the royal residence on the Avenida del Valle. The couple disclosed that Simeon had met Margarita some years before at a party in Madrid; however, it was about a year and a half before their engagement that their relationship had turned from a friendship into a romance. Margarita was given a ring with a large ruby set by diamonds by her fiancé. Queen Mother Giovanna gave her future daughter-in-law a platinum brooch set with three emeralds surrounded by diamonds.
|Margarita and Simeon after their civil wedding.
On Saturday, 20 January 1962, King Simeon II of Bulgaria and doña Margarita Gómez-Acebo y Cejuela were civilly married at the town hall in Lausanne, Switzerland. Colonel Georges Guentchjeff was the witness for King Simeon; don Jose Luis Gómez-Acebo y Cejuela was the witness for his sister. It was later revealed by the king’s sister that the couple had also held an intimate Roman Catholic wedding in Madrid beforehand. King Simeon was naturally of the Bulgarian Orthodox faith; while Queen Margarita was of the Roman Catholic faith, which she retained after their union.
|The newly married King and Queen of Bulgaria.
Queen Mother Giovanna and Princess Marie Louise are in the background.
A day later, on Sunday, 21 January, the couple celebrated their religious marriage at the Russian Orthodox Church of Saint Megalomartyr Barbara in Vevey, Switzerland. The ceremony was conducted by Metropolit Andrey of New York, Head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Exile, Bishop Antony, Head of the Orthodox Church in Switzerland, and Father Igor Troyanov of Saint Barbara’s Church. The nuptials of the king and queen was attended by 400 guests. Aside from King Simeon and Queen Margarita, the royal attendees present were the following: Queen Mother Giovanna of Bulgaria, Princess Marie Louise of Bulgaria and Prince Karl Vladimir zu Leiningen, Queen Mother Geraldine of Albania, Archduke Andreas Salvator of Austria, Prince Ludwig of Baden, Prince Irakly Bagration-Mukhransky, Prince and Princess Viggo, Count and Countess of Rosenborg, King Farouk of Egypt and his daughter Princess Fawzia, Princess Zahra Khanzadi Sultana of Egypt and her daughter Princess Sabiha Fazila Khanum Sultana, Prince Michael of Greece, Landgrave Philipp of Hesse and his son Hereditary Prince Moritz, Fürst Emich zu Leiningen, Duke Christian Ludwig and Duchess Barbara of Mecklenburg, Princess Marie Clotilde Napoléon, the Duke of Parma, Prince Louis Ferdinand and Princess Kira of Prussia with their son Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich of Russia, and Prince Tomislav and Princess Margarita of Yugoslavia. Other noble guests from Spain and Europe included: Prince Dimitri Romanoff, the Marchioness of Winchester, the Duque and Duquesa de Almenara Alta, the Marquesa de Zurgena, Gräfin Viktoria zu Solms-Rödelheim und Assenheim and her son Erbgraf Markwalt zu Solms-Rödelheim und Assenheim, Conte Calvi di Bergolo, the Condesa de Alba de Liste, the Vizconde de Tuy, the Duquesa de Andria, and Conte Carlo Colonna.
In February 1962, Princess Marie Louise of Bulgaria, who was living in Oakville, Canada, with her first husband, granted an interview to Stasia Evasuk of The Ottawa Journal about the royal wedding. The princess shared her recollections: “The wedding went off smoothly. I can’t tell you where Simeon and his bride are honeymooning. They’ll live in Madrid where my mother has her official residence since the Communists are still in power in Bulgaria. I’ve known the bride for years. I met her in Spain where I lived for seven years with my brother and mother before my marriage. She has no close relatives. Everyone in her family was killed by anti-Franco forces in the Spanish civil war except her and her brother. They were saved by a nanny. The night before the wedding there was a reception for 400 guests at the Lausanne Palace Hotel. I enjoyed seeing old friends I hadn’t seen for a long time. [On the wedding day,] my mother wore a deep purple silk dress with a matching velvet coat and I wore a pink and brocaded gold dress with matching silk coat. The bride wore a long white silk gown embroidered with pearls. She looked simply beautiful.” Queen Margarita of Bulgaria wore the Bulgarian Fleur-de-Lis Tiara.
|The King and Queen with their children and grandchildren, 2007.
Photo (c) HM King Simeon.
King Simeon and Quen Margarita have five children: Crown Prince Kardam, Prince of Tirnovo (1962-2015; married Miriam Ungria y López); Prince Kyrill, Prince of Preslav (b.1964; married Rosario Nadal y Fuster-Puigdorfila); Prince Kubrat, Prince of Panagjuriste (b.1965; married Carla-Maria Royo-Villanova y Urrestarazu); Prince Konstantin-Assen, Prince of Vidin (b.1967; married Maria Garcia de la Rasilla y Gortazar); and Princess Kalina (b.1972; married Antonio “Kitin” Muñoz Valcárcel). The King and Queen of the Bulgarians have eleven grandchildren. The royal couple live at Vrana Palace.