Leka I, King of the Albanians

Motto: “Peace, Unity and Brotherhood”

His Majesty King Leka of the Albanians was born in Tirana, the Royal Palace, 5th of April 1939. He died on the 30th of November 2011, aged 72, at Mother Teresa Hospital, Tirana.

The birth of an heir to the throne was celebrated with great jubilation and the Royal Guard gave a 101 gun salute.

Prince Leka began life in exile in various countries. After travelling across Europe, the Royal Family settled in England, first at the Ritz Hotel in London, then moving for a very short period in 1941 to South Ascot, near Ascot in Berkshire, and later to Parmoor House, Parmoor, near Frieth in Buckinghamshire.

After the war King Zog, Queen Geraldine and Prince Leka moved to Egypt, where they lived at the behest of King Farouk I. Leka was educated at Parmoor House. In 1946 he attended the British Boys School, where he continued until 1954. In Alexandria, Egypt, he attended Victoria College and then went to Aiglon College, Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland, where he graduated in 1956.

He was fluent in several languages, including Albanian, French, English, Spanish, German and Arabic. He also spoke some Italian.

Prince Leka officially became heir apparent and Crown Prince to the throne on the 5th of April 1957, on his 18th birthday. Prince Leka became King upon His father’s death. King Zog died on the 9th of April 1961.

Oath as King of the Albanians in accordance to the Royal Constitution of 1928

Crown Prince Leka gave his oath as King of the Albanians at the Hotel Bristol in Paris, on the 15th of April 1961, before The Royal Government in exile, former deputies of the Albanian Parliament, and 70 official delegates chosen as representatives from the Albanian Diaspora.

The National Assembly was invoked according to Acts 51 and 55 of the Albanian Royal Constitution of 1928, where upon it was declared that The Crown Prince would become King of the Albanians.

His Majesty gave his oath on the Bible and Quran before the National Assembly and invited dignitaries as the sovereign Leka I, King of the Albanians.

From 1961 onwards King Leka continued the resistance movement in exile. He also maintained the Albanian Royal Government in exile, which was recognized internationally with all entailed privileges, until the final return of the Royal Family to Albania in 2002.

In 1962 the Royal Family moved from France to Madrid, Spain, which was under the rule of General Francisco Franco. King Leka built a friendship with King Juan Carlos of Spain and later with the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

In the early 1960-s he first called upon the support of His God Father, King Faisal bin Abdulazizi Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. King Faisal guided him to build a career as a commodities broker. During the next two decades, King Leka would create a number of successful businesses in the Middle East and Far East, maintaining offices in Madrid, London and Hong Kong. With the money earned, King Leka lobbied for Albania’s freedom and rallied his supporters.

In the summer and autumn of 1967, His Majesty visited the United States of America. King Leka paid his respects to the graves of Monsignor Fan Noli and Albania’s former Ambassador to the United States of America, Faik Konica. He met with the leaders of “Vatra”, The Legality Party and The National Front, known as the “Balli Kombetar”. The visit was the start of a worldwide campaign to mobilize and unite the Albanians against the Communist Dictatorship.

In 1966-67, He went on operational duty as a Taiwanese observer to Vietnam. Later he traveled to Thailand and with the support of the Thai Army; he recruited Thai and Myanmar soldiers to train Albanian volunteers in Guerrilla tactics.

King Leka met and forged a friendship with the Governor of California, future President of the United States of America, Ronald Regan. In 1967 he famously gifted a live baby elephant to the then governor, a symbol of the United States Republican Party.

In the late 1960-s, King Leka’s attempt to build a training camp for the Albanian Liberation army in Libya was aborted by the September 1969 coup d’état and the fall of King Idris bin Muhammad al-Mahdi as-Senussi.



The Conference of Madrid (1975) was a successful action to unify the Albanian political and non political communities under the slogan “Nation Above All”, and in thus creating a worldwide Albanian front against the communist regime.

The conference was aimed at finding a military-diplomatic and political solution to end communism and to reunify the Albanian Nation.

The Conference implemented a non negotiable stance on the sovereignty and the independence of Albania and adopted the philosophy of further resistance.

King Leka insured the act-agreement of the unification and coordination of the diplomatic-political activities of the Albanian Diaspora, through the approval of the Temporary Council, Leading to the creation of the National Liberation Army of Ethnic Albania. The National Liberation Army would play a pivotal role in carrying out operations against the Communist dictatorship in Albania.

On the 8th of October 1975, King Leka married Susan Cullen-Ward at a civil ceremony in Biarritz France, at the Hotel de Ville, in the presence of representatives of the Albanian community. France was chosen because of the legal similarities with Albanian Royal laws, both being based on the Napoleonic code.

On the 10th of October a large ceremony was held before the clergy in Toledo Spain. Muslim, Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican priests blessed the newlyweds. The event was attended by representatives of the different Royal Houses and the Albanian community.

 

King Leka first returned to Albania in 1993, but was only allowed to stay in the country for less than 24 hours before being informed by the Albanian National Informative Service, “SHIK”, that he had to leave. In the early 90s, the Minister of the Royal Court, Abedin Mulosmanaj, and members of the Royal Court toured the country. The Queen Mother Geraldine and Queen Susan would send medical assistance in country.

His Majesty returned again on April 12 1997, after 58 years in exile. Welcomed home by 10.000 supporters at the airport, He greeted the crowd with the phrase “Peace, Unity and Brotherhood”.

Albania was going through a period of prolonged anarchy after the fall of the pyramid schemes. The state had collapsed, along with law and order. King Leka was the only leader free to visit Albanian cities and villages throughout the country without bias, whilst the Albanian Socialist Party and Democratic Party leaders were only able to travel to their relative strongholds.



The Royal Family was officially invited back to Albania by Parliamentary decree in 2002. A political consensus was achieved on the 17th of June 2002 when 9 parliamentary group leaders signed a proclamation which was followed by an official invitation signed by bipartisan group of 74 parliamentarians out of the 140 seat assembly. On Friday the 28th of June 2002, at 11:15 the Royal Family returned home landing at Rinas airport on a private Boeing 727, after traveling from Lanceria airport, South Africa. The Royal Family was welcomed by a festive atmosphere and thousands of supporters.

King Leka became involved in activities of the Nation and staunchly opposed all acts of corruption and miss-governance in Albania and Kosova. He worked vigorously to ensure the well-being and freedom of the Albanian Nation.

King Leka believed that Albania should maintain itself as a bridge between the East and West. He was a strong advocate for Albanian National Unity.

In 2005 King Leka became the spiritual leader of “The Movement for National Development” a wide coalition of political parties that took part in the national elections the same year. Unfortunately, ill health put a stop to further political activities in the following years.

King Leka passed away at the Mother Teresa Hospital Tirana in the 30th of November 2011. The Albanian government declared a Day of National Morning and ordered all institutional flags to be lowered. The state funeral was held at the Albanian parliament in Tirana and was attended by Albanian and foreign dignitaries and the general public.

The mayor of Tirana, Mr. Lulzim Basha, gave the eulogy in front of the National Parliament building. The service was, according to Albanian Royal tradition blessed, by the four official religious leaders at the time, (Muslim, Catholic, Bektashi and Albanian Orthodox), with full Military honors. He was initially buried next to his wife and mother at the Sharra cemetery in Tirana. A year later, King Leka was laid to rest at the Royal Mausoleum.

40 Historical dates of the Royal family and King Zog

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