Thousands Gather for King Zog of Albania’s Re-Burial
Over 3,000 Albanians turned out on Saturday to pay their final respects to the late King Zog I of Albania, whose remains were re-buried with state honours after their repatriation from France. They arrived in the international airport of the Albanian capital, Tirana, where they were greeted by family members and officials, including Prince Leka (the King’s grandson) and his fiancée. The King was interred in a newly built Royal Mausoleum.
Paying homage to the late King, Albania’s Prime Minister Sali Berisha called him “an illustrious figure who laid the foundations of the Albanian state” as the late Monarch’s coffin – draped with the Albanian flag – lay in state in the former royal palace. Among foreign guests invited to the ceremony was Prince Radu of Romania, who represented the Romanian Royal Family.
King Zog was born as Ahmet Muhtar Bej Zogolli and ruled Albania from 1925 to 1939. His father originated from a beylik family of landowners with feudal authority over Mati, whereas his mother’s family claimed descent from the sister of Albania’s greatest hero, Skanderberg, whose decades of defence of Albania from the Ottomans was considered a model of Christian resistance against the Ottoman Muslims. Zog started his rule as a President but after 1928 constitutional changes, proclaimed the country a constitutional monarchy and was crowned as King.
The Albanian Royal Family fled the country in 1939, after the Italians invaded Albania because of its strategically highly important Adriatic ports. Initially, the family settled in England, then Egypt, before finding permanent residence in France. Zog died in exile in France in 1961 and was buried in the Thiais Cemetery in Paris. His family was allowed to return to Albania in 2002.
The repatriation and reburial was organised by Albania’s conservative government as part of ceremonies to celebrate the centenary of Albania’s independence from the Ottoman Empire.
King Zog’s only son, Crown Prince Leka, fought for restoration of the monarchy in Albania until his death last year. The Crown Prince himself only had one son, also named Prince Leka, who is the current pretender to the throne. He served at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is currently an official at the Albanian Ministry of Interior and a political advisor to the President.Filed under Albanian Royals, Historical Royals
Tagged Anniversary, Biography, Prime Minister Berisha of Albania, Prince Leka of Albania, Reburial, Zog I of Albania.