In October 2010, we established King Boris and Queen Giovanna Royal Heritage Fund aiming to protect the royal heritage of Bulgaria with the resources we have. Over many years of indifference, lies, and propaganda, my family and I decided that it would be regrettable to let such a rich historical legacy of archives, family paintings, and objects fall into oblivion, given that they can become available to people. We have taken this task to heart, trying to reunite in Bulgaria our historical art objects, archives, and documents.
I am delighted to follow the progress of the restoration activities in the Vrana Palace: its halls getting open one after another, the showcases being filled with personal belongings collected from all over the world, uniforms, orders, medals, menus, royal flags, porcelain ware, paintings.
My goal is to develop and socialize this historical institute dedicated to the Third Bulgarian Kingdom, with a permanent exhibition, an archival fund, and an exclusive library – a place for science and knowledge for this period that does not exist elsewhere in our country. Unfortunately, it has been consistently deleted from the history textbooks and, at best, slandered.
In 2006, I donated to the Archives State Agency the personal archive of King Ferdinand which in the 1970s was delivered for storage to the Hoover Institution of the University of Stanford, California, with the clause of being returned to Bulgaria in the event of restoring the democratic regime in the country. My Grandfather’s archive numbers tens of thousands of items with contracts, agreements, and written negotiation communications between Bulgaria and other countries, His correspondence with the rulers of His time, photographs, and more. Currently, King Boris and Queen Giovanna
Fund own a significant number of large albums and an array of photographs of my Grandfather and Father, and the Coburg, Savoy, and Orléans families, reflecting life in that remote age, as well as a significant archival fund now located in Vrana, which is allowing to preserve, study and restore a national and European treasure scattered due to the vicissitudes of history.
The new building of Vrana Palace, where I lived until I was nine years old, now housing King Boris and Queen Giovanna Fund, is a particularly valuable historical monument erected by my Grandfather King Ferdinand in the period 1904-1912. It is located amongst a wonderfully beautiful park built with skill, knowledge, and care for the unique plant species brought from the four corners of the world more than a century ago. In the
years of my Father, this private property of ours reached its full bloom, and its agricultural part was turned into a model homestead, due to which the whole estate was supported. From this home, my sister Maria Louisa and I keep the most precious but at the same time, arduous memories of our prematurely ended childhood. Here we indulged in games, here we received our Father’s first lessons and began our primary education,
here we experienced the terrible air-raids of March 1944. This was the home where we spent isolated and under constant threat two years, after the coup of September 9th of that year.
On Holy Thursday, 1946, the blasphemously exhumed remains of King Boris from the Rila Monastery were transferred to Vrana, and on September 16th of the same year, after the manipulated ‘Referendum to abolish the Monarchy’ we were forced to flee far from the Fatherland and our home, in a half-century exile.
With the Law on confiscation of Our personal property, adopted by the VI Grand National Assembly in December 1947, the Palace of Vrana was taken away from the patrimony of our family, deconsecrated by a special law, and provided for usage to the new communist ‘elite’. All symbols and traces of our national and family history were destroyed. The property of our ancestors was looted. In 1954, the sarcophagus with the remains of our Father disappeared, and the quiet chapel surmounting His second tomb was blown up.
Since 2000, Vrana has been our main home again. In the following year, my sister and I, driven by the desire to make this exceptional nature park accessible to all Bulgarian citizens and guests, donated 950 acres of it to the Sofia Municipality, provided that it is open to visitors and that proper care is taken for the preservation of its priceless plant species and its status as a unique natural and cultural-historical monument. Today I think about the next generation and the spiritual legacy I leave to them, and it is in the historical reconciliation. I am convinced that knowing the past without a desire for revenge can only help us build a better vision for the future and be proud of our roots.
Because, if you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are going!