William, Prince of Albania

William, Prince of Albania

Infobox Monarch
name =William
title =Prince of Albania

reign =7 March, 19143 September, 1914
othertitles =Prince of Wied
consort =Sophie of Schönburg-Waldenburg
issue =Princess Marie Eleonore,
Hereditary Prince Carol Victor
royal house =House of Wied
father =William, 5th Prince of Wied
mother =Princess Marie of the Netherlands
date of birth =March 26, 1876
place of birth =Neuwied, German Empire
date of death =Death date and age|1945|04|18|1876|03|26
place of death =Predeal, Romania
place of burial =Biserica Luterana, Bucharest, Romania|

Prince William of Wied, Prince of Albania (Wilhelm Friedrich Heinrich) (26 March 1876 – 18 April 1945) reigned briefly as sovereign of Albania from March 7, 1914 to September 3, 1914 when he left for exile. His reign officially came to an end on January 31 1925 when Albania was declared a republic.

Outside the country and in diplomatic correspondence, he was styled "sovereign prince," but in Albania he was referred to as "mbret," or king. (See King of Albania for more details.) He was also styled Skanderbeg II, in homage to Skanderbeg. []

Family and early life

Born in Neuwied, he was the third son of William, 5th Prince of Wied (brother of Queen Elisabeth of Romania) and his wife Princess Marie of the Netherlands (sister of Queen Louise of Sweden).

His paternal grandparents were Hermann, Prince of Wied and Marie Wilhelmine Friederike Elisabeth of Nassau-Weilburg. Marie was a daughter of Wilhelm, Duke of Nassau and his first wife Charlotte Louise of Saxe-Altenburg. Charlotte was a daughter of Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg and Charlotte Georgine of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

His maternal grandparents were Prince Frederik of the Netherlands and Princess Louise of Prussia. Louise was a daughter of Frederick William III of Prussia and Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Prince William served as a Prussian cavalry officer before becoming a captain in the German general staff in 1911.cite book| last =Pearson| first =Owen| title =Albania in the Twentieth Century: a history| publisher =I.B.Tauris| date =2006| pages =50, 64, 292| isbn =1845110137 ]

Candidate for the Albanian throne

Prince William's aunt Queen Elisabeth of Romania on learning that the Great Powers were looking for a prince to rule over Albania asked Take Ionescu to attempt to persuade the great powers to appoint her nephew to the post.

Eventually the European Great Powers Austria-Hungary, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the French Third Republic, the German Empire, the Russian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy selected William, a member of the German princely house of Wied, to rule over newly-independent Albania with an announcement made in November 1913. The decision was accepted by Ismail Qemali the head of the Provisional government. The offer of the Albanian throne was first made to him in the spring of 1913 but he turned it down. Despite rejecting the offer, the Austrians put pressure on Prince William in an attempt to change his mind.cite book| last =Heaton-Armstrong| first =Duncan| title =The Six Month Kingdom: Albania 1914| publisher =I.B.Tauris| date =2005| pages =xii, 12| isbn =1850437610 ]

Prince of Albania

He let the Great Powers know on February 7, 1914 that he would accept the throne. On February 21 1914 a delegation of Albanian notables made a formal request, which he accepted thereby becoming "By the grace of the powers and the will of the people the Prince (Mbret) of Albania". One month after accepting the throne on March 7, he arrived in his provisional capital of Durrës and started to organise his government, appointing Turhan Pasha Përmeti to form the first Albanian cabinet.

His brief reign proved a turbulent one. Immediately following his arrival revolts broke out in central Albania against his Chief Minister, Essad Pasha, and against foreign domination. Greece encouraged the formation of "provisional government of North Epirus". Although an agreement was made to grant extra rights to the Greek minority, the Hellenic Army occupied Southern Albania excluding Berat and Korçë. William's position was also undermined by own officials, notably Essad Pasha himself, who accepted money from Italy to finance a revolt and to stage a coup against William. Pasha was arrested on May 19 1914 and tried for treason and sentenced to death. Only the intervention of Italy saved his life and he escaped to Italy in exile.

The outbreak of World War I presented more problems for Prince William as Austria-Hungary demanded that he send Albanian soldiers to fight alongside them. When he refused, citing the neutrality of Albania in the Treaty of London, the remuneration that he had been receiving was cut off.cite book| last = Kola| first =Paulin| title =The Search for Greater Albania| publisher =C. Hurst & Co. Publishers| date =2003| pages =16| isbn =1850655960 ]

Exile and death

With Albania in a state of civil war since July 1914, Greece occupying the south of the country, the great powers at war with one another, his regime collapsed, and so Prince William left the country on September 3, 1914 originally heading to Venice. [cite book| last = Springer| first =Elisabeth| coauthors = Leopold Kammerhofer| title =Archiv und Forschung| publisher =Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag| date =1993| pages =346| isbn =3486559893 ] Despite leaving Albania he did so insisting that he remained head of state.

He returned to Germany and rejoined the Imperial German Army under the pseudonym "Count of Kruja". [cite book| last = Jacques| first =Edwin E.| title =The Albanians: An Ethnic History from Prehistoric Times to the Present| publisher =McFarland & Company| date =1995| pages =358| isbn =0899509320 ] The name derived from the city of Krujë in Albania. When the Austro-Hungarians forced the Serbian and Montenegrian armies out of Northern Albania in the early months of 1916, William's hopes of being restored were raised although ultimately they came to nothing. After the war, he still harboured ambitions that he might be restored, but the participants at the Paris Peace Conference were unlikely to restore to the throne someone who had just fought against them.

Although several of the factions competing for power in postwar Albania billed themselves as regencies for William, once central authority was definitively restored in 1924 the country was declared a republic on January 31 1925 officially ending his reign. [ [http://www.worldstatesmen.org/Albania.htm Worldstatesmen] ]

With the monarchy in Albania set to be restored with President Ahmet Zogu becoming king, Prince William reaffirmed his claim to the throne announcing he still claimed the throne for himself and his heirs.

Prince William died in Predeal, near Sinaia, in Romania leaving his son Hereditary Prince Carol Victor as heir to his Albanian claims. [cite book| last = Pearson| first =Owen| title =Albania in Occupation and War: From Fascism to Communism 1940-1945| publisher =I.B.Tauris| date =2006| pages =436| isbn =1845111044 ] He was buried in the Lutheran church in Bucharest.

Marriage and children

On 30 November 1906 at Waldenburg, Saxony Prince William married Princess Sophie of Schönburg-Waldenburg (1885-1936), they had two children. [ [http://pages.prodigy.net/ptheroff/gotha/albania.html Online Gotha] ]
*Princess Marie Eleonore (1909-1956)
*Hereditary Prince Carol Victor (1913-1973).


ahnentafel top|Ancestors of William of Wied|width=100%ahnentafel-compact5
style=font-size: 90%; line-height: 110%;
boxstyle=padding-top: 0; padding-bottom: 0;
boxstyle_1=background-color: #ADB3D3;
boxstyle_2=background-color: #B1BAE9;
boxstyle_3=background-color: #B8C2F2;
boxstyle_4=background-color: #d6dfff;
1= William, Prince of Albania
2= Wilhelm, 5th Prince of Wied
3= Marie of the Netherlands
4= Hermann, Prince of Wied
5= Marie Wilhelmine of Nassau-Weilburg
6= Frederik of the Netherlands
7= Luise of Prussia
8= Johann Karl August, Prince of Wied
9= Sophie Auguste of Solms-Braunfels
10=Wilhelm, Duke of Nassau
11=Luise of Saxe-Altenburg
12=Willem I of the Netherlands
13=Wilhelmina of Prussia
14=Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia
15=Luise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

ahnentafel bottom


External links

* [http://www.albanianhistory.net/texts/AH1917.html Wilhelm zu Wied:Memorandum on Albania]
* [http://genealogy.euweb.cz/runkel/runkel6.html A listing of Princes of Wied since 1791 and their descendants]


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