Son of Prince August of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, born in Vienna, was elected prince of Bulgaria in 1887, after the abdication of Alexander of Battenberg.
Despite Ferdinand's preference for handsome young blond men, he took his responsibility to wed and father a dynasty with the utmost seriousness. 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 April 20, 1893 at the Villa Pianore in Lucca in Italy, producing four children
Ferdinand's bisexuality was both well-known and exploited throughout European diplomatic circles. It became the custom for visiting dignataries seeking favour from Ferdinand to be accompanied by a handsome young equerry and Ferdinand's regular holidays on Capri, then a famous haunt for wealthy gay men, was common knowledge in royal courts throughout Europe.
In 1908 proclaimed Bulgaria's indipendence of Turtkey and assumed the title of Czar. In 1915 he entered World War I as germany's ally, and in 1918 abdicated in favour of his son Boris, and withdrew to private life.