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What do monarchs do next?

Crown
It must rank as the ultimate "bad day at the office". You start the day as king of all you survey, heading up one of the world's few remaining monarchs, and end it as a common citizen. So what the next step for a head of state who has lost his crown?

That was the situation this week for the (now former) monarch of Nepal, King Gyanendra, after the country's ruling Maoist party declared the country a republic after 240 years of royal rule.

First on the agenda will be a new home. Gyanendra has been given two weeks to vacate his main pink concrete palace in Kathmandu, which will be turned into a museum. But with stone-throwing demonstrators at the gates, that move may just be hurried along.

Beyond that, the 60-year-old has a number of business interests which could give him fresh purpose as he seeks a post-pink-palace-profession. They include a hotel in Kathmandu, a tea estate in the east of Nepal and a cigarette factory.

And with the number of monarchies dwindling around the world in recent decades, there are several former kings whose example he could follow.

Power regained

The most successful monarchy makeover was undoubtedly that of Bulgaria's Simeon II, who was ousted by communists in 1946, but went on to become the country's prime minister in 2001 to massive popular acclaim.

The exiled Simeon II
A young Simeon II was forced into exile...

Granted he was undoubtedly helped by the fact that he was just nine years old when the metaphorical guillotine fell.

Simeon fled, first to Egypt and then to Spain. With the financial backing of his rich royal relatives, he studied economics and established himself as a businessman in Madrid. He has worked as an adviser for firms in Europe and Africa in the fields of banking, hotels, electrical goods and catering.

He married a Spanish aristocrat, and, keen to hold onto his heritage, gave his five children Bulgarian names.

And when he was finally able to return to his homeland in 1996 following the overthrow of the communists, thousands of people - many too young to have been his former subjects - turned out to welcome him, chanting: "We want our King."

Five years later, having cannily moved into politics, his National Movement party won a landslide victory in the country's elections and he began a four-year term as prime minister.

So if Simeon II provides the successful template for post-royal life, there is of course a more common course of action for the freshly deposed - to plot their way back into the job or, failing that, back into their former homes.

Occasionally it works - Cambodia's King Norodom Sihanouk was ousted by the Khmer Rouge in a coup while he was on a trip to Russia. Driven into exile, Sihanouk initially allied himself with the Khmer Rouge movement, which gained power and installed him as a symbolic head of state in 1975.

After losing that position, a longer period of exile began but he returned in 1991 after a UN-brokered peace deal, and was recrowned king in 1993. When his reign ended in 2004, it was his choice - he abdicated in favour of his son.

Mightier pen

Monarchs who dreamed of regaining their position include Karoly IV, who lost his kingship in both Austria and Hungary in the 1920s, and Germany's Wilhelm II.

Election posters of Simeon Saxe-Coburg
... but regained power through the ballot box 55 years later

Wilhelm was among the former monarchs who put down the crown and picked up the pen. Exiled in the Netherlands, he produced two volumes of memoirs.

Meanwhile, Portugal's Manuel II, who established a new life as an aristocrat in England, wrote a guide to medieval and Renaissance Portuguese literature but died before his own literary career could really flourish.

While some monarchs never quite manage a happy homecoming for themselves, the family name retains enough lustre to guarantee a warm welcome many years down the line.

Leka Zog, son of the former King Zog, was cheered back into Albania 46 years after his father was ousted by the communists.

And the descendants of King Petar II, who was exiled from Yugoslavia in 1941, were invited to reoccupy their ancestral home in Belgrade by Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindic in 2001.

Colourful career

For Crown Prince Alexander, it meant a move from London, where he was well known as one of the godsons of Queen Elizabeth II.

But among all the men who could be living the life of a king, the most colourful career path belongs to Yi Seok, a descendant of the Chosun Dynasty, which ruled the Korean peninsular until 1910.

His family was able to continue living in Seoul until 1979 but were ordered out of their palace at gunpoint after the assassination of President Park Chung Hee.

Mr Yi moved to the US and told the New York Times in 2006 that in the following years he had worked as a gardener and a Beverly Hills pool cleaner, had a Las Vegas marriage of convenience to gain a green card and ran a much-robbed off-licence.

He returned home to South Korea but hit hard times and completed his journey from prince to pauper as he was homeless for a spell.

But after giving interviews to journalists who tracked him down, he went on to become a lecturer on the history of the Korean royal family for Jeonju University.




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