BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Monday, 18 June, 2001, 03:28 GMT 04:28 UK
East European royalty in exile
Yugoslavia's Prince Alexander: Banned by Tito
Bulgaria's former king Simeon II is set to become the first monarch to return to power in East Europe since the collapse of communism, after his election victory on Sunday.

Other former monarchs have returned to their homelands, but none has regained political power.

Here is what happened to some of them.

Simeon II: Back in power

  • Bulgaria's Simeon II

    Born in June 1937, he took the throne at the age of six, but was forced into exile when communists took power in 1946.

    He first returned to his homeland in 1996 after half a century in exile, mostly in Spain.

    His family's property was returned in 1998.

    He formed a political coalition in April this year to contest legislative elections.

  • Albania's Leka I

    The only child of the country's last king, Zog I, has lived in South Africa since 1979, but has never given up hoping for the monarchy to be restored in his homeland.

    Born in April 1939, he lived in Albania for only three years, before his family fled to Greece, then France and Britain.

    He returned to Tirana in 1997 after half a century in exile, but left after only a few days.

    He was jailed in absentia for three years for organising an illegal demonstration during his visit.

    Romania's former King Michael: Forced to abdicate

  • Romania's former King Michael

    He reigned for two periods, as a child from 1927-1930 and from 1940, when he was 19 years old, until 1947.

    He was forced to abdicate a few hours before a communist republic was declared in December 1947.

    Michael went into exile in London the following year and was stripped of his Romanian citizenship, which he only regained in 1997.

    Now living in Switzerland, he made a three-week visit to Romania in June this year, marked by his reconciliation with ex-communist President Ion Iliescu.

  • Yugoslavia's Prince Alexander

    Born in 1945 in exile in London, he was banned by the regime of Josip Tito in November that year.

    He lived in the United States in the 1970s, but returned to London after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    In October 2000, after the fall of Slobodan Milosevic, he was greeted at Belgrade airport by monarchist supporters, but said he simply wanted to help develop democracy in his homeland.

  • Montenegro's Nicolas Petrovic

    Born in July 1944 in France to a French mother, he was the heir to a dynasty which had ruled Montenegro for three centuries until the end of World War I.

    He lives and works as an architect in Paris and has no plans to return as a monarch, but supports pro-independence movements in his homeland, Serbia's partner in the Yugoslav republic.

  • Search BBC News Online

    Advanced search options
    Launch console
    See also:

    14 Jun 01 | Europe
    Old king promises new Bulgaria
    03 May 01 | Europe
    Bulgarian ex-king in the running
    04 Apr 01 | Europe
    Ex-king to unveil political plans
    15 Jan 01 | Country profiles
    Country profile: Bulgaria
    15 Jan 01 | Europe
    Timeline: Bulgaria
    Internet links:

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

    Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.

    E-mail this story to a friend

    Links to more Europe stories