Albania hosted its second royal wedding ever after King Leka II married longtime fiancee Elia Zaharia in a lavish ceremony on yesterday.
The pair got engaged in Paris in 2010 but only started planning for the big day a few months ago.
The wedding had all the pomp and circumstance expected of such an event with around 20 royal families from across the world in attendance including Prince Michael of Kent-the first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.
Princess Léa of Belgium and Queen Sofía of Spain were also present at the opulent ceremony in Albanian capital Tirana.
Albania’s royal family was expelled from the country in 1939 after the country was invaded by Italian fascists.
After World War II, when the Communists took over the country, King Zog, King Zeka’s grandfather, and his family were considered traitors and stripped from power completely and removed from history books.
Sulejman Gjanaj, the head of the Legality Movement, a small right-wing monarchist party, told BIRN that the wedding is going to endorse the status of the Albanian royals and ensure the legacy of King Zog.
‘The fact that over 20 royal families and more than 100 aristocrats from all over the world will participate in this wedding is an indicator of the approval that the Albanian royals have,’ Gjanaj said.
‘This is the best reply to all those who have falsified the history of our country and have denied the legitimate rights of the royal family,’ he added.
The ceremony seemed to be met with indifference from some of Albania’s youngsters however some of the older generation said the country was better when the royals ruled-before communism.
‘His grandfather (King Zog) contributed a lot to Albania and undertook reforms to improve the country’s economy and even reform social life in the country. We shouldn’t forget that King Zog, a Muslim, married a Roman Catholic wife, paving the way for religious tolerance in the country,’ said Fatmir Qafa, a 70-year-old pensioner.
‘Albanians during his time were much freer than under communism. But it was communism that tried to distort his character,’ he added.