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MODERN RULERS.

"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."

Never were these words truer than al the present day. Either a king musl be a figurehead, leaving the rea government of tbe country to his Ministers, or he must be beset with cares. The Kaiser has tried hard to be the true ruler of Germany, and certainly he has found it no primrose path. A sovereign who is much to be pitied at this time is King Ferdinand of Bulgaria. His history is an ex 1 citing one. Up to 1908 he was styled Prince Ferdinand, belonging to the House of Coburg, an old and influential family wbich has long held a high position in Austria as well as Bulgaiia. After one of his periodical visits to Vienna he was proclaimed King of Bulgaria just at the precipe time whtn Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia leizegovina, and with no warning at all Bulgaria declared her independence of Auitiia. The stroke was unexpected, and Austria made no attempt to mullify the solemn cere mony in the Church of the Forty Martyrs, overlooking the ancient city of Tirnovo, by which Prince Fer dinand was declared sovereign of fiee Bulgaria, After four years of astute diplomacy, by which Bulgaria has been advanced slowly but surely, King Ferdinand and bis Ministers in the last year have undone as rapidly the careful schemes by which their country has b-en so advanced. The King is an interesting figure, especially as his throne is so insecure, and he ha 3 enemies at home as well as abroad, The sketch' given in the " London Daily Mail" by Mr G. Valentine Williams of this troubled sovereign is of great interest. Speaking of his precarious position, Mr Williams says;—" Once again, as so often in the dim receding past, King Ferdinand feels his throne swaying beneath him. He shuns Sofia, wbich for bim is too thickly peopled with spectres from the twenty-six years during which he has ruled over his sirong-willed and egoistic people. There is Alexander of Battenburg, King Ferdinand's predecessor, forced to abdicate and flee tbe country under tbe influence of the popular reaction against Russian influence; StambulofF, despotic but fiercely patriotic, whose unexpiated murder in the streets of Sofia, when his Sovereign had abandoned him, must often haunt the dream of King Ferdinand, and lastly tbe tens of thousand of Bui garia's so'diers who laid down their lives cheerfully, but all in vain, in the two Balkan Wars. Popular opinion in Bulgaria, seeing the country be set with enemies on every hand and despoiled of her fruits of conquest, is angrily demanding a victim to sacrifice to the shades of the dead buried in the nameless graves of Thrace and Macedonia."

King Ferdinand evidently resembles tbe French aristocrat who was so severely pruned by the guillotine, as the following graphic account given by Mr Wiliiams shows; — " Tho role of pleader sits ill ou this pround and ambitious man. ' Cc nest pa" un grand diplomate," Bis mark su'd of him, ' mais ill est ties fin.' Ami in truth finesse is revealed in every trait of bis fine, expressive face, which with its narrow slit eyes and large, clever nose, has led ill natured caricaturists to portray him in the likeness of a rogue elephant. The last time I saw him was at a reception given in his honour at the Quai d'Orsay, the palace of the French Foreign Office, on the occasion of his State visit to Paris after his h.s-mmption of the kingship. He looker! every inch a king. As if to emphasis tbe fact that he has ever shown himself more at home in the diplomatic salon than on the parado ground, he wore plain evening dress, unrelieved save for a couple of diamond stars glistening on his coat and the deep red riband of the Legion of Honour across his shirt

front. In his hand he grasped a crutched ebony stick, on which he leaned heavily as he passed in and out of the brilliant throng assembled in the splendid salon of Quai d'Orsay. He was the quintessence of refined elegance. Pride of race, pride of rank, pride of achievement were all expressed in the fine smile which played about his lips with their carefully trimmed moustasche surmounting the pointed beard which seemed to increase the length of his long, clever head. Worldly he bag over been in

his attention to dres3, his love o* ferfumes, in his immeasurable personal ambition to succeeel where another big unlucky predecessor, failed. To a woman friend who wrote to congratulate him on bis marriage to his present Queen, hi 3 second wife, nee the Princess Eleonora of Reuss, be said in his reply: ' Elle a eu vif sccceas. Elle sait porter ses bijoux a merveille.' (She ha 3 done very well. She carries her jewels very well), omitting the usual tributes to the Queen's character which the occasion might be supposed to demand."

The world at large has no place for such rulers as this, who will sacrifice everything to elegance and refine cnent, and whose arrogance demands chat the Sovereign should be put before tbe mob. In his twenty-six 1 years' rule King Ferdinand appears to have consulted his people seldom as to bis plans, and though Bulgaria is be hind the rest of Europe as far as civilisation is concerned, it is more than probable that tha foolish diplo macy of King Ferdinand and his , Ministers, by which the sympathy of tbe Powers has been alienated, added to the lack of loyalty at home, will place King Ferdinand in the same position as that of Manuel, ex-King of Portugal.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AMBPA19131226.2.6

Bibliographic details

MODERN RULERS., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXI, Issue 4360, 26 December 1913

Word Count
942

MODERN RULERS. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXI, Issue 4360, 26 December 1913

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