Ferdinand was thought to be bisexual throughout his life, but up to middle age, his proclivities for women predominated.
Ferdinand entered a marriage of convenience with Princess Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma, daughter of Roberto I of Parma and Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, on 20 April 1893 at the Villa Pianore in Lucca in Italy, producing four children:
- Boris III (1894–1943)
- Kyril (1895–1945)
- Eudoxia (1898–1985)
- Nadezhda (1899–1958). Married Duke Albrecht Eugen of Württemberg.
Marie Louise died on 31 January 1899 after giving birth to her youngest daughter. Ferdinand did not think again about marriage until his mother, Princess Clémentine died in 1907. To satisfy dynastic obligations and to provide his children with a mother figure, Ferdinand married Eleonore Caroline Gasparine Louise, Princess Reuss-Köstritz, on 28 February 1908.
Ferdinand's regular holidays on Capri, then a famous haunt for wealthy gay men, were common knowledge in royal courts throughout Europe.
Stambolov's fall (May 1894) and subsequent assassination (July 1895) paved the way for a reconciliation of Bulgaria with Russia, effected in February 1896 with the conversion of the infant Prince Boris from Roman Catholicism to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. However, this move earned him the animosity of his Catholic Austrian relatives, particularly that of his uncle, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria.
Read more about this topic: Ferdinand I Of Bulgaria
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