Prince Leka of Albania, pretender to the Albanian throne, will marry Ms Elia Zaharia on October 8th at the Royal Palace in Tirana. In one of her pre-wedding interviews, the bride has stated that she will wear a tiara from the groom’s family. As their grandest tiara, Queen Geraldine’s Wedding tiara, was auctioned decades ago, the only other option is the Sapphire Goat Tiara, which has been worn by Prince Leka’s mother and Grandmother.
The Sapphire Goat Tiara is composed of a base of diamond leaves with sapphire swirls. There is an arch of diamond leaves with sapphire flowers, but the most distinctive feature is the sapphire encrusted royal crest of the “Ram of Skanderbeg”, which has featured in all Albanian royal tiaras. The Tiara was made at some point after the 1930s, during the Royal Family’s time in exile.
The Tiara was first seen on Queen Geraldine, Prince Leka’s grandmother, who wore at at the wedding of his parents in 1975 at Biarritz. Hungarian-born Queen Geraldine and her husband King Zog, were exiled from Albania just days after she had given birth to their only child and heir, when Mussolini’s Italy invaded Albania. The Sapphire Goat Tiara was probably commissioned as a replacement for the bulk of Queen Geraldine’s jewelry collection, which was sold to Ostier in 1960, during their time in exile. Widowed in 1961, she died in 2002, just months after being allowed to come back to Albania.
The next wearer of the Sapphire Goat Tiara was Queen Susan, mother of Prince Leka, and daughter-in-law of Queen Geraldine, who wore the tiara for a portrait in the 1980s. The Australian-born Queen Susan was the consort of King Leka II, and spent the majority of her married life in exile before being allowed to return to Albania in 2002. Sadly, she died just a few years later, in 2004, of lung cancer, in Tirana. The Sapphire Goat Tiara was inherited by Prince Leka. Interestingly, the necklace worn by Queen Susan has already been worn by Ms Elia Zaharia for an official portrait.
UPDATE: The Sapphire Goat Tiara was worn by the new Crown Princess Elia of the Albanians at her wedding to Crown Prince Leka in October 2016, and later for portraits, including a series released for Albanian National Day in 2016.
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