More than fifty years after his death in France, Albania’s former monarch, King Zog I, was laid to rest in Tirana on Saturday in a ceremony attended by political leaders and thousands of people.Zog was laid to rest in the recently reconstructed mausoleum of the royal family, where his wife, Queen Geraldine, his son, Leka I, and Leka’s wife, Susan are also buried.
“Zog is one of the most important figures of Albanian history as he laid the foundations for a modern state,” President Bujar Nishani said at the ceremony, attended also by his Kosovo counterpart and top Albanian dignitaries.
Born Ahmet Bej Zogolli, Zog ruled Albania from 1925 to 1939, first as president and later, after 1928 as a monarch. He died in exile in France in 1961.
The Albanian royal family left the country on April 7, 1939 on the invasion of the country by Fascist Italy. The Communist takeover at the end of the Second World War ruled out their return and no Albanian royals set foot in the country until 1994.
Albanian royalists lost a bid to restore the monarchy in a referendum held that year when only a third of the electorate backed the plan. Zog is survived by his grandson Crown Prince Leka.