King of Albania
|King of Albania|
|Royal Coat of arms|
|First monarch||William I|
|Last monarch||Zog I|
Royal Palace of Tirana
|Monarchy began||7 March 1914|
|Monarchy ended||9 April 1939|
|Current pretender(s)||Leka II|
While the medieval Angevin Kingdom of Albania was a monarchy, it did not encompass the entirety of the modern state of Albania. The latter has been a kingdom on two occasions. The first time was after it was declared independence in 1912.
The Albanian Congress of Trieste of 1913 discussed about the future prince and several candidates came through: Baron Franz Nopcsa von Felső-Szilvás, Marchese D'Auletta (claiming descendance from Scanderbeg) with the support of the Arbereshe delegates and Italy, Prince Albert Ghica from Romania supported by the Albanian colony there, and Aladro Castriota.
Under the independence settlement imposed by the Great Powers, the country was styled a principality, and its ruler, William of Wied (Wilhelm zu Wied in German), was given the title of sovereign prince. However, these styles were only used outside the country. In Albanian, William was referred to by the title mbret, or king. This was because many local nobles already had the title of prince (princ, prinq, or prenk in various Albanian dialects), and because domestically the Albanian sovereign could not be seen as holding a title inferior to that of the King of Montenegro. Prince William's full style was:
By the grace of the powers and the will of the people the Prince of Albania.
William was forced into exile by internal disorder just after the outbreak of World War I, and Albania was to be occupied by various foreign powers for most of the war. In the confusing aftermath of the war, some of the several regimes competing for power officially styled themselves as regencies for William. Albania's first monarchy ended definitively when the restored central government declared the country a republic in 1924.
Four years later, on September 1, 1928, President Ahmed Bey Zogu proclaimed himself King of the Albanians (Mbret i Shqiptarëve in Albanian) as Zog I. Zog sought to- establish a constitutional monarchy. Under the royal constitution, the Albanian King, like the King of the Belgians, had to swear an oath before parliament before entering into his royal powers. The text of the oath was as follows:
- I, name, King of the Albanians, on ascending the Throne of the Albanian Kingdom and assuming the Royal powers, swear in the presence of God Almighty that I will maintain national unity, the independence of the state, and its territorial integrity, and I will maintain and conform to the statute and laws in force, having the good of the people always in mind. So help me God!
Zog's Kingdom came to be tied more and more closely to King Vittorio Emanuele III's Italy, until the latter occupied it on April 7, 1939. Zog fled the country, and five days later, the Albanian Parliament proclaimed Vittorio Emanuele as the new King. He took the title King of Albania, which he formally retained until he abdicated as Albanian monarch in 1943. Zog I was then reinstated as King (though he never returned to Albania), serving until the socialist People's Republic of Albania was established in 1946.
During and after World War II, some Albanians worked for the return of King Zog; however, they were not successful. Neither Zog nor Vittorio Emanuele III had their Albanian royal titles widely acknowledged by the international community. Zog's son, the late Crown Prince Leka (1939-2011), was the main pretender to the Albanian Crown. As he himself stated, his title was not King of Albania but King of the Albanians, which includes the irredentistic claim to Kosovo and part of Macedonia. Since Crown Prince Leka's death in late November, 2011, the main pretender to the Albanian Throne is H.R.H. The Prince Leka of Albania. Prince Leka is the only child of the late Crown Prince and is sometimes styled as Crown Prince Leka II.
- History of Albania
- List of Albanian monarchs
- List of Albanian consorts
- Line of succession to the former Albanian throne
- House of Wied-Neuwied
- House of Zogu
- Otto Witte, a German circus acrobat who claimed to have been crowned king for a few days.
- Nopcsa, Franz. "The Congress of Trieste". Robert Elsie. Archived from the original on 1 March 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
- "Albania Holds Funeral for Self-Styled King Leka I". FOX News. Retrieved 11 February 2013.