28 February 2024

Crown Prince Leka of Albania 1939-2011

The Mad Monarchist's obituary for Leka I, de jure King of Albania from 9 April 1961 until 3 December 2011.

From The Mad Monarchist (3 December 2011)

HRH Crown Prince Leka I Zogu died today at 7:40 at the Mother Theresa Hospital in Tirana at the age of 72 due to heart and lung trouble according to a spokesman for the Albanian Royal Family. He was the only son of Zog I, Prime Minister turned President turned King and was born only days before the Italian occupation (and eventually annexation) of Albania in 1939. He grew up in exile, first in London and then in Egypt as the guest of King Farouk (the Egyptian Royal Family being of Albanian origin) before moving on to other countries. After the end of German occupation in World War II the Soviets imposed a communist regime on Albania and forbid the return of the former Royal Family. In 1961 the Albanian government-in-exile proclaimed the prince King Leka I Zogu of the Albanians after the death of his father. He married an Australian school teacher in 1975 and the couple lived for a time in Spain as friends of King Juan Carlos before diplomatic problems with the Albanian government forced their departure. They moved on to Rhodesia and later South Africa. After the fall of communism he was able to return to the land of his birth in 1993 to visit. After the 1997 rebellion in Albania he returned again, still claiming the title of "King" but promised to accept the status of a private citizen if a referendum were held on restoring the monarchy and the Albanians decided against it. The referendum was held, the Crown Prince lost and of course there are doubts about how fair a vote it was. He left Albania again, was tried and convicted of sedition in absentia against the Albanian government but was pardoned in 2002. He returned and campaigned for his own political party though due to his royal status refused to vote. He retired from public life in 2006. The Crown Prince is succeeded by his son, Prince Leka II, who was born in South Africa in 1982. He is a student of international relations, has served in the Albanian military and made himself somewhat known by supporting the bid for the independence of Kosovo recently. He is currently working in the Interior Ministry of Albania. The Mad Monarchist sends condolences to the Albanian Royal Family and all Albanian monarchists on this sad occasion.

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