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A Royal Wedding in Albania

Prince Leka of Albania, or King Leka II of Albania as he is known by Albanian royalists, is getting married to his longtime fiancee Elia Zaharia today.

Prince Leka is the grandson of King Zog I, who ruled the country from 1928 until 1939. His parents are Leka, Crown Prince of Albania (of King Leka I of Albania) and Australian born Susan Cullen-Ward. His father was just a few days old when the family was exiled from Albania due to the Italian invasion. Prince Leka was born on 26 March 1982 on South Africa, although the maternity ward was temporarily declared to be Albanian territory.  He went to school at St Peter’s College in Johannesburg and also graduated from Sandhurst Military Academy in 2006, where he was declared the “best foreign student of the Academy”. He studied Italian at the Università per Stranieri and also completed training at the Albanian Military Academy Skanderbej. He is fluent in Albanian, English, Italian and speaks some Zulu.

He currently lives in the capital of Albania, Tirana. Prince Leka is pursuing a career in diplomacy and he is now serving as a political advisor to the President.

His fiancee, Elia Zaharia, is an Albanian actress born on 8 February 1983 to George Zaharia and Yllka Mujo. She graduated from the National Art School in Tirana in 2002 and moved to Paris in 2002 to continue her studies. She met Prince Leka around that time. She graduated from the National Conservatory of Bordeaux in 2005. The couple became in engaged in May 2010 and she has accompanied Prince Leka on his visits since then. She is the head of the Queen Geraldine Foundation, which was created by the Royal Court and helps Albanian families who need help.

Their wedding date was finally announced on 27 March 2016 and the couple is set to marry today in Tirana. The civil marriage will be officiated by the Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj. A blessing will be given by the religious leaders of Albania.

The guest list for the wedding includes Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

Full guest list

Austria

Their Imperial and Royal Highnesses Archduke Georg and Archduchess Eilika

Belgium

Her Royal Highness Princess Léa

Bourbon-Two Sicilies

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Castro

Egypt

His Royal Highness Prince Ali

Georgia

His Royal Highness Prince Davit Bagrationi

Germany

His Royal and Imperial Highness Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia

Greece

Her Royal Highness Princess Irene
His Royal Highness Prince Michael and Princess Marina

Iran

Her Imperial Majesty Empress Farah Pahlavi

Italy

Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Pia of Savoy
Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy

Liechtenstein

Their Serene Highnesses Prince Philipp and Princess Isabelle

Luxembourg

Their Royal Highnesses Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla

Montenegro

His Royal Highness Prince Nikola II Petrović-Njegoš

Morocco

Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Meryem

Portugal

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Braganza

Romania

Their Royal Highnesses Crown Princess Margareta and Prince Radu

Russia

Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria
His Imperial Highness Grand Duke George

Serbia

Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine

Spain

Her Majesty Queen Sofia

Thurn und Taxis

Her Serene Highness Princess Gloria
Her Serene Highness Princess Elisabeth

The United Kingdom

Their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Michael of Kent

Others

His Serene Highness Prince Gundakar and Her Royal Highness Princess Marie of Liechtenstein
Her Serene Highness Princess Imaculata of Liechtenstein
Her Serene Highness Princess Charlotte of Liechtenstein, Mrs PK Van der Byl
His Royal Highness Prince Michel of Yugoslavia
Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Theresa of Bourbon-Parma
Their Imperial & Royal Highnesses Archduke Joseph Karl Habsburg and Her her Imperial & Royal Highness Archduchess Margarete of Austria.
Her Imperial & Royal Highness Archduchess Johanna Sophie of Austria
His Highness Prince Joachim Murat
Prince Maurizio Ferrante Gonzaga del Vodice
Prince Alvaro de Orleans-Borbon and Princess Antonella de Orleans-Borbon
HSH The Prince d`Arenberg
Princess Sonia Poniatowsky
Prince Maurizio Ferrante Gonzaga del Vodice

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