Princess Kalina of Bulgaria looks unrecognisable in waist-cinching bridal gown with gravity-defying collar

Princess Kalina in a white wedding dress smiling with her husband Kitin

Princess Kalina of Bulgaria has hit the headlines after debuting her dramatic change in appearance in recent months, which has left us leafing back through old photo archives.

Since her last outing four years ago, the Bulgarian royal has developed an impressive muscular physique – a marked transformation compared to her slender frame on her wedding day.

Princess Kalina of Bulgaria waving in her belted wedding dress
Princess Kalina wore a belted wedding dress from a Bulgarian designer for her 2002 wedding (Alain BENAINOUS)

Kalina married Spanish sea navigator and explorer Antonio José (Kitín) Muñoz y Valcárcel in October 2002 in Borovets. The bride, who is the daughter of former Bulgarian king Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, was the picture of elegance in a Bulgarian-designed wedding dress featuring long sleeves, a shimmering gold belt that emphasised her waist, a column skirt and a Dracula collar.

Princess Kalina with her husband on their wedding day
The bride added a matching jacket over her wedding dress (Mark Cuthbert)

She layered a short-sleeved, knee-length coat over the top and slipped on white sandals.

A biography shared by the Vrana Palace revealed that the Princess is "strongly captivated by the Bulgarian national embroideries, buckles, crafts, and costumes." This was evident in her choice of bridal gown.

Beauty-wise, Kalina styled her blonde hair in an updo topped with embellished accessories and kept her makeup classic, aside from a popular noughties frosted lip and thin brows.

Royal mountainside wedding

The Princess wed her Spanish explorer husband in 2002.
The Princess wed her Spanish explorer husband at the Tsarska Bistritza Palace (Getty)

Kalina met UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Kitin in Madrid after being introduced by their close friend Alvaro de Marichalar.


They dated for three years before tying the knot at the Tsarska Bistritza Palace in the Rila Mountains in front of 200 guests from around the world. Following the ceremony, they dined on traditional dishes including shopska salad, moussaka and blueberry crepes.

They welcomed their son Simeon-Hassan in March 2007.

Princess Kalina's transformation

The young princess studied History of Art in London
The young princess suffered an accident in her childhood, and complications from her following tooth procedure left her needing surgery (Luc Castel)

Princess Kalina's appearance has been the subject of much speculation over the past two decades, starting in the early 2000s when she appeared to have undergone facial surgery.

Her husband Kitin defended his wife in 2018, shutting down rumours she had undergone plastic surgery and explaining her appearance was the result of an unfortunate childhood accident.

The royal has an ecclectic collection of sporty visor sunglasses
Kitin defended his wife in 2018 (Getty)

"All the absurd theories of Kalina's different operations and aesthetic treatments are nothing more than misinformation," Kitin told !HOLA¡, revealing that his wife had suffered an accident aged eight resulting in her losing two front teeth.

In 1999, Kalina turned to a dentist in London to replace her broken teeth with crowns, but complications left the princess with an infection that spread into her nasal cartilage.

Princess Kalina of Bulgaria was seen for the first time since 2024 alongside Bulgaria's Prince Kyril of Preslav, Rosario Nadal, Prince Konstantin-Assen of Vidin, her husband Kitin Munoz and son Simeon-Hassan Munoz
Princess Kalina of Bulgaria was seen for the first time since 2024 sporting very defined arm muscles (Getty)

The couple were at sea on an expedition when Kalina's infection worsened. "The impossibility of going to a hospital and the conditions at sea caused the infection to progress and worsen, affecting part of her eye," explained Kitin.

Kalina was rushed to hospital and given emergency surgery, which he said "caused cosmetic damage", but the priority was "to save the eye and nose from the infection."

The Bulgarian royal has also transformed her physique over the past few years, which she showed off in a sleeveless geometric-print shift dress at a funeral in May 2024.

Princess Kalina follows a disciplined workout routine
Princess Kalina follows a disciplined workout routine (Instagram)

Kitin credited his wife's "excellent physical shape" to "a healthy lifestyle, daily training and good nutrition." He added: "Something that is not only reflected in her good muscle tone but also in her beautiful face."

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