9 episodes

When King Boris III of Bulgaria dies amid mysterious circumstances during World War II, there's no shortage of suspects. But eighty years later, his death remains unsolved. Award-winning journalist Becky Milligan follows a trail of dissidents, poisoners, soldiers and spies to unravel eighty years of lies and cover-ups. This tragic family saga of a doomed royal dynasty is a story of treachery, deceit and a quest for the truth. Who killed the Butterfly King?

The Butterfly King is a podcast from Exactly Right, produced by Blanchard House.

The Butterfly King Exactly Right

    • True Crime
    • 4.4 • 101 Ratings

When King Boris III of Bulgaria dies amid mysterious circumstances during World War II, there's no shortage of suspects. But eighty years later, his death remains unsolved. Award-winning journalist Becky Milligan follows a trail of dissidents, poisoners, soldiers and spies to unravel eighty years of lies and cover-ups. This tragic family saga of a doomed royal dynasty is a story of treachery, deceit and a quest for the truth. Who killed the Butterfly King?

The Butterfly King is a podcast from Exactly Right, produced by Blanchard House.

    1: The Mender of Broken Dishes

    1: The Mender of Broken Dishes

    It’s 1943 during a crucial turning point in the Second World War. Caught in the crossfire, King Boris III of Bulgaria has a make-or-break meeting with a key ally. Boris is a reluctant politician and a family man, sucked into the bloodiest conflict in history. Someone resents his influence and wants him out of the way for good. Could Boris’s fate be linked to the company he keeps? 

    The Butterfly King is a production of Blanchard House and Exactly Right Media.

    From Blanchard House
    Host: Becky Milligan
    Writer and Producer: Emma Jane Kirby
    Original Music: Daniel Lloyd Evans, Louis Nanke-Mannell and Toby Matimong
    Sound Design and Engineering: Toby Matimong and Daniel Lloyd-Evans
    Managing Producer: Amica Sciortino Nowlan
    Creative Director: Rosie Pye
    Executive Producer and Head of Content: Laurence Grissell

    From Exactly Right
    Consulting Producer: Kyle Ryan
    Artwork: Vanessa Lilak
    Executive Producers: Karen Kilgariff, Georgia Hardstark and Danielle Kramer
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    • 49 min
    2: Lies, Lies, Lies

    2: Lies, Lies, Lies

    Host Becky Milligan meets King Boris III’s children at Vrana Palace, a royal residence on the outskirts of Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city. The children share the details of their father’s strange and painful death. Officially he dies of a heart attack, but the symptoms don’t add up. What—or who—is responsible? Becky speaks to witnesses who explain how Boris duped Hitler. But the discovery of a dusty document, thousands of miles from Bulgaria, makes Becky wonder if she’s way off course. 
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    • 58 min
    3: Snake in the Grass

    3: Snake in the Grass

    Can you trust anyone in wartime? Host Becky Milligan meets a man in Sofia, Bulgaria, who shows her a side of King Boris III that makes her question whether he’s really the hero of this story. As Becky picks her way through the viper’s nest of conflicted history, she must confront the royal children with some uncomfortable truths.
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    • 53 min
    4: A Snake is Still a Snake

    4: A Snake is Still a Snake

    We’re back at the Vrana Palace in Sofia, Bulgaria, where King Simeon II and Princess Maria Luisa tell host Becky Milligan about their narrow escape from targeted Allied bombings after their father’s death. As more secrets emerge from the pages of a British diplomat’s private diary, Becky is forced to consider an ugly possibility. But as she follows the trail of poison, a brand new suspect slithers into the frame.
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    • 47 min
    5: Caught Red Handed

    5: Caught Red Handed

    It’s 1946, three years after King Boris III’s death and a heavy Iron Curtain has fallen over Bulgaria. What dark secrets does it conceal? Host Becky Milligan learns some disturbing facts about the Soviet secret services and why they couldn’t let sleeping kings lie. And we hear a haunting tale from the royal children as they meet their father again – three years after they buried him…
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    • 52 min
    6: An Inside Job

    6: An Inside Job

    Accusations fly like bullets as host Becky Milligan discovers that King Boris III has been a hunted man for most of his life and has dodged more assassination attempts than James Bond. Did he ignore the one crucial message that could have saved his life? Becky feels the net closing in on the identity of the Butterfly King’s killer.
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    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
101 Ratings

101 Ratings

Parkender ,

Exceptional

I know very little about Bulgaria and little of the history behind this story, so it was a fascinating story. The podcast is excellently produced and presented. And there are more twists and turns than a twisty turnny thing.

PodderLG ,

Fascinating!

Excellent series but can’t find final episode 8?

Emmaskrey ,

Fantastic!

I don’t have much interest in history, and this isn’t a typical ‘true crime’ podcast (my Go To genre)… but oh my god, this show is brilliant.

The research is top notch, the delivery is superb (the dry Brit sense of humour shines through), the tone is ‘light’ and easy to listen to, and the involvement of the family members shows the lasting impact this potential crime has had despite the passage of time. Where was this show when I was taking GCSE history?

Hoping these ladies continue with new projects because they are naturals at this.

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