22.10.

2002: The Hungarian Countess who Became Queen Geraldine of Albania

2002: The Hungarian Countess who Became Queen Geraldine of Albania
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  • historical event:
  • Her full name was “Countess Géraldine Margit Virginia Olga Mária Apponyi de Nagy-Appony”, and she was born in Budapest during World War I (the Great War). The city was part of Austria-Hungary at that time.

Former Albanian queen Geraldine died on this day in 2002, aged 87. She was the wife of King Zog of Albania, the former Albanian president who had declared himself king in 1928. He was known for having certain unusual habits, and for the so-called Zogist salute (one arm is placed against the chest, with the palm of the hand turned towards the ground).

Queen Geraldine was born a Hungarian countess. Namely, she was the daughter of Count Gyula Apponyi Nagyappony. Her full name was “Countess Géraldine Margit Virginia Olga Mária Apponyi de Nagy-Appony”, and she was born in Budapest during World War I (the Great War). The city was part of Austria-Hungary at that time.

It is interesting that Geraldine’s mother was an American – Gladys Virginia Steuart – the daughter of American millionaire John Henry Steuart. Despite her wealthy background, Gerladine’s family became impoverished during the 1920s, so that the future queen even had to work as a shorthand typist for a while.

Geraldine met her future husband Zog at a time when he was already the King of Albania. She was 22 at that time, while he was 42. They allegedly met at his request, after he saw a photo of her. At his behest, she moved from Hungary to Albania, and they got married as soon as the next year. She was a Roman Catholic, while he was a Muslim.

However, only a year after the wedding, the Italians conducted an invasion of Albania, so that Zog and Geraldine had to flee abroad. Zog died in France in 1961, leaving Geraldine a widow at 46 years of age. She later lived in Spain, Rhodesia, and South Africa. She returned to Albania only five months before her death, and died on this day in Tirana.

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