By Danielle Stacey-
Albania’s royal family welcomed a new addition this week with the arrival of Crown Prince Leka II and Crown Princess Elia’s first child.
In a statement, the royal court announced that the couple welcomed a baby girl at Queen Geraldine Maternity Hospital in Tirana on Thursday 22 October.
In a touching tribute to the prince’s grandmother, Queen Geraldine, their daughter has also been named Princess Geraldine, in her honour.
Queen Geraldine coincidentally died on 22 October 2002, aged 87. She was Albania’s last Queen Consort before she and her husband King Zog I fled the country in 1939, after the Italian invasion of Albania at the start of the Second World War.
The Albanian royal family spent time in Greece and Turkey before settling in England, where they resided at The Ritz in London for a brief period. After the war, King Zog and his family then moved to Egypt before the monarch spent the remainder of his life in France. He died in 1961, aged 65.
While Albania hasn’t had a monarchy since 1939, King Zog’s son Crown Prince Leka I was proclaimed King of the Albanians after his father’s death in 1961.
Crown Prince Leka II is now the head of the Albanian royal family after his father Crown Prince Leka I’s death in 2011.
The 38-year-old, who has worked as an official at the Albanian Ministry of Interior, married actress Elia Zaharia in Tirana in 2016. Royals in attendance at their wedding included Queen Sofia of Spain and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
As Crown Prince Leka II currently does not have any sons, his current heir presumptive is Skënder Zogu, his first cousin once removed.