Bulgaria's highest court on Friday ruled against a claim by the country's ex-king to keep one of the royal family's last properties, potentially clearing the way for the loss of their three remaining residencies.
The supreme court of appeal ruling was the last chance of Simeon Saxe Coburg, deposed by the communists aged nine in 1946, to prevent the government from taking ownership of a royal hunting lodge and 37 hectares (90 acres) of land in the southern town of Krichim.
According to experts, this sets a precedent for a series of other suits filed by the government against Saxe Coburg and other family members for three remaining residences and hundreds of hectares of land and forests.
These include the Tsarska Bistritsa winter villa in the skiing resort of Borovets and the Sitnyakovo and Vranya residences on the outskirts of Sofia, which were returned to the royal family in 1998 after the end of communism.
Simeon Saxe Coburg, now 76, ascended to the throne in 1943 aged six. After being deposed he was forced into exile but returned in 1996. Five years later he was elected prime minister, serving until 2005 and retiring from politics in 2009.