28 OCTOBER 2002
The daughter of former Bulgarian king Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha wed Spanish explorer Kitin Muñoz in a simple yet traditional ceremony at the weekend in a mountain resort in southwest Bulgaria. The nuptials were held at the Tsarska Bistritza Palace, which was recently restored to the family, in the town of Borovets, about 75km south of Sofia.
Some 200 guests from around the world attended the event, including members of several European royal families. At Kalina's father's specific request the royal houses were represented by their younger members, including the Infanta Cristina of Spain and her husband Iñaki Urdangarin, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent's son Frederick Windsor and the son of ex-King Constantine of Greece, Nikolaus.
The wedding itself was a traditional affair, with the bride wearing a Bulgarian-designed gown made by local tailors with white sandals and a belt similar in style to that which normally adorns the country's national dress. The food was also traditional, with guests opening up their palates with a snifter of rayika (Bulgarian schnapps), followed by skopska salad, moussaka for the main course and, to finish things off, blueberry crepes.
Thirty-year-old Kalina is the youngest of Simeon's five children, who were all born in exile in Spain. Simeon came to the throne at the age of six but spent half a century in exile before returning to his country in the 1990s. Last year he was elected prime minister after his party won the parliamentary elections and he became the first former monarch to return to power in post-Communist eastern Europe.
Spanish explorer Kitin met Kalina in Madrid three years ago, after being introduced by their close friend and fellow action-man Alvaro de Marichalar, who was also at the wedding. Kitin is an admirer of the famous Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl and has sailed the Atlantic on a bamboo raft. He also works as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations.