H. M. King Simeon II assembled his own library for 80 years, and its beginning was set in Bulgaria before his forced departure in September 1946.
Given his interests and pursuits, in the years of the half-a-century exile, the King successively increased his library in volume. Currently, it reaches several thousand books, composed of works on diverse subject matter and scope.
In his biographical book, King Simeon shares:
Reading is rescuing to me. For me, it is a form of meditation that allows you to find
yourself looking at the world through the prism of historical personalities. I started
reading at a very young age because of health problems that bound me to get rest. In
the French lyceum, I was released from physical education and returned home earlier.
After homework, with a book in hand, I spent a long time with my mother and her
companion and quickly read hundreds of pages.
Some periods of life favour reading more and others less. Now I read again – late at
night when I can’t fall asleep or, traveling by plane. I prefer historical narration, but I also
enjoy reading Saint-Simon and the great people’s biographies. I highly appreciate the
Renaissance thinkers – for example, from the age of Reformation, such as the Swiss
Zwingli, known for arguing with Luther. Each time I go to Zürich, I like to stop in front of
the church where he preached. I also rediscover the philosophers I studied with interest
at the time: Ortega y Gasset, Albert Camus, whom I read with enthusiasm and will
always remember that phrase from his Letters to a German Friend written during the
war, which reads: “I love too much my country to be a nationalist.” Among them are my
compatriot Tsvetan Todorov, Ismail Kadare, who describes our world so well in the
eighteenth century, and those more far-off Descartes, Montaigne, and Erasmus, who
marked me so strongly.
I also appreciate the Bulgarian writers – and among them, of course, Ivan Vazov, the
patriarch of our native literature, which describes in literary form the end of the Ottoman
period with such depth and mastership. Vazov became Minister of Education under my
Grandfather and was one of the few Bulgarian holders of the highest Royal distinction,
the Order of St. St. Cyril and Methodius, which my Father awarded him.
May my poor knowledge of the young literature be excused. This omission of mine is
due in part to my preference for history. But I know it is rich enough. Splendid books are
written by Yordan Radichkov, whom they repeatedly compare to Gabriel García
Márquez. Our Academy presented his candidacy for the Nobel Prize in Literature. And
Talev’s Iron Lantern and Donchev’s Time of Parting are real masterpieces in my view”.
Bulgaria is a reading country, and many foreign books get translated. I have often
noticed that some tend to put the Slavic peoples under one denominator, but it is wrong.
We Bulgarians have a dainty and bitter sense of humour.
Given the interests of King Simeon, as he shares, his books are principally on history, political science, sociology, memoirs, theology, and more. His library holds also the richest, overall and exhaustive collection of works on heraldry, phaleristics, history of the reigning dynasties, numismatics, vexillology, and emblems.
Along with all this, H. M. King Simeon received hundreds of books in art, poetry, poetry, and prose with authorial dedications.
His personal library’s fund is currently in the process of arrangement, research, and classification. It will become accessible to researchers, historians, Ph.D. students, and scholars via this website.