Lost Kingdoms – Kingdom of Albania

(public domain)

The Kingdom of Albania has existed several times. An early principality of Albania developed into the Kingdom of Albania from 1272 to 1368, which was under the rule of the King of Naples and later under the Duke of Durazzo. It then became a Principality again until 1392 under the Thopia dynasty. From 1392 it fell under the power of the Republic of Venice, which was ruled by a Doge (a title derived from the Italian Dux or Duke). The territory was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, and it remained part of the Empire until its collapse. Albania declared its independence in 1912 and became a principality once more in 1913. This principality, which lasted until 1925, was ruled by William I, Prince of Albania who had been born Prince William of Wied.

Sophie of Schönburg-Waldenburg (public domain)

William and his wife Princess Sophie of Schönburg-Waldenburg, who had some remote Albanian ancestry, had a son and daughter. Their son Carol Victor never ruled the principality as the republic was declared in 1925. Carol Victor married British born Eileen Johnston, but they had no children. He died without declaring an heir. The Republic of Albania was a de facto protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy after signing the two Treaties of Tirana.

Ahmet Zogu was the Prime Minister of Albania from 1922 to 1924 and then its President from 1925 to 1928. On 1 September 1928, he became Albania’s King as Zog I. His mother was declared Queen Mother, while his siblings were also given a princely status. He married Countess Géraldine Margit Virginia Olga Mária Apponyi de Nagy-Appony, who became Queen Géraldine. They had one son, Crown Prince Leka. The Kingdom did not last long. Germany annexed Austria and Italy did not want to be a second-rate member of the Axis (combined named for all the nations who fought against the Allies). When Germany also invaded Czechoslovakia without notifying the Italian dictator Mussolini, Italy proceeded to annex Albania. The King, Queen and their newborn son fled to Greece.

Queen Géraldine (public domain)

During the occupation, Albania remained a Kingdom but was led by Italian governors. The King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III, was also Albania’s King. When Italy capitulated in 1943, Albania was occupied by the Germans until the end of the war. In 1944, Albania attained a sort of formal independence while still under German occupation. At the end of 1944, Albania was liberated, and Democratic Government of Albania was formed until 1946 when the People’s Republic of Albania was proclaimed. This became known as the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania in 1976 and the Republic of Albania in 1991. It’s current constitution dates from 1998.

The exiled King Zog, his wife and son, settled in England. King Zog made his final home in France, where he died on 9 April 1961. Queen Géraldine survived him and lived in South Africa. Shortly before her death in 2002, she was allowed to return to Albania, and she died in Tirana. Crown Prince Leka married Australian born Susan Cullen-Ward in 1975, and they had one son together, also named Leka. Their son married Albanian born Elia Zaharia in 2016.1

  1. Read more: Albania and King Zog: Independence, Republic and Monarchy 1908-1939 (Albania in the Twentieth Century: A History)

About Moniek Bloks 2393 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.