Representatives of the European monarchies gathered together to celebrate the marriage of the Crown Prince of Albania, the descendant of a dethroned Hungarian queen, and his fiancée this weekend, writes index.hu.
The Crown Prince of Albania Leka II married his fiancée Elia Zaharia this weekend (October 8) in front of 20 European royal families and about 100 aristocrats. The royal family was dethroned in 1945, but the ceremony resembled a great Balkan wedding from 80 years earlier, which had relevance to Hungarians.
In the 20th century, due to a revolution, Amet Zogolli PM escaped to Yugoslavia, but went back to Albania leading some Russian officers soon after. In order to ensure his power he was crowned in 1928. Then he had to start looking for a wife, whom he met in 1937: the daughter of Earl Lajos Apponyi was invited to a party and eventually fell in love with the king.
Thus, a Queen Consort of Hungarian origin was celebrated in Europe and Albania in 1938: Geraldine Apponyi, born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary, became Geraldine of Albania. As she married King Zog I of Albania after half a decade she became the first Hungarian countess to sit on a European throne.
A Hungarian cook was in charge of the food at the wedding, while a gypsy band entertained the guests, and the Queen Consort also had Hungarian maids of honours. The people of Hungary gave four white Lipizzaner horses as a wedding gift, but even Mussolini and Hitler sent presents.
However, when Italy occupied Albania the royal couple, the Queen Consort with her new-born in her arms, had to flee the country in 1939. She returned to Albania with her son Leka I and her family, including Leka II, the current Crown Prince, only in 2002, and she soon died afterwards.
But their example, the Muslim king and the Christian Queen Consort is still cherished in the country, where people are proud of their relatively peaceful religious life. The current royalty, Leka II lives in the Castle of Tirana and aside the sports of aristocrats he is interested in charity works and politics: he became the political advisor to the President of Albania.
He had been engaged to Elia Zaharia, Albanian actress and singer for a long time until the wedding took place on Saturday. Celebrities and majesties of the country, former and present members of aristocrats from all over Europe attended the event: Hungary was represented by György Habsburg and his wife.
Photo: MTI/EPA/Gent Onuzi
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