Sophie, Princess of Albania

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Princess Sophie
Princess Consort of Albania
Sophie, Princess of Albania.jpg
Born(1885-05-21)21 May 1885
Potsdam, Brandenburg, German Empire
Died3 February 1936(1936-02-03) (aged 50)
Fântânele, Romania
SpouseWilhelm, Prince of Albania
IssuePrincess Marie Eleonore of Albania
Carol Victor, Hereditary Prince of Albania
Full name
Sophie Helene Cecilie
HouseHouse of Schönburg-Waldenburg (by birth)
House of Wied-Neuwied (by marriage)
FatherVictor, Hereditary Prince of Schönburg-Waldenburg
MotherPrincess Lucia of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg

Princess Sophie of Schönburg-Waldenburg (Sophie Helene Cecilie Prinzessin von Schönburg-Waldenburg; 21 May 1885 – 3 February 1936) was the consort of Prince Wilhelm of Wied. With her husband's accession to the Albanian throne she became the Princess of Albania (Albanian: Princeshë e Shqipërisë). Outside the country and in diplomatic correspondence, she was styled "Princess consort", but in Albania she was referred to as Mbretëreshë, or Queen.


Princess Sophie was born in Potsdam, Brandenburg, Prusia, as daughter of Hereditary Prince Otto Karl Viktor I von Schönburg-Waldenburg (1856-1888) and Princess Lucie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (1859-1903). Her paternal grandparents were Prince Otto Friedrich von Schönburg-Waldenburg (1819-1893) and Polish noblewoman Pamela Łabuńska (1837-1901), while her maternal grandparents were Prince Emil Karl Adolf zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (1824-1878) and Princess Pulcheria Cantacuzene (1840-1865). Prince Emil was the son of Prince August Ludwig of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (1788–1874) and Franziska Allesina gennant von Schweitzer (1802–1878).

Early life[edit]

Both of Princess Sophie's parents died when she was young so she spent much of her youth at the Castle Hemius in Fântânele estate in Moldavia, which was owned by her maternal relatives.[1]

Marriage and issue[edit]

On 30 November 1906 at Waldenburg, Saxony Princess Sophie married Prince Wilhelm of Wied, son of Prince Wilhelm von Wied (1845-1907) and Princess Marie of the Netherlands (1841-1910). Sophie's husband, Prince Wilhelm was closely related to Wilhelm II, German Emperor, being his second cousin. They had two children:[citation needed]

Albanian ancestry[edit]

She had some remote Albanian ancestry, being a descendant of Princess Elena Callimachi, daughter of Prince Scarlat Ghica (1715-1766), who was Prince of Moldavia and Prince of Wallachia and Princess Ruxandra Muruzi. She also descends from Princess Ruxandra Ghica, daughter of Grigore I Ghica (1628-1675), Prince of Wallachia and Princess Maria Strurdza. Although officially Romanian, Princely Ghica family has Albanian roots.[2]

Princess of Albania[edit]

Royal Standard of Sophie.
Styles of
Princess (Queen)[3] Sophie of Albania
Principality of Albania (Princess' standard).svg
Reference styleHer Highness
Spoken styleYour Highness

Princess Sophie was close to her husband's aunt Queen Elisabeth of Romania, whom she had known since moving to Romania after the death of her parents. Princess Sophie and Queen Elisabeth sang, painted, composed and played musical instruments together.[4] Queen Elisabeth played an important role in getting Princess Sophie's husband William the Albanian throne by asking Take Ionescu to persuade the great powers to select William.[5] Princess Sophie and Queen Elisabeth both worked to overcome William's reluctance to accept the throne.[1]

William of Albania and his wife Princess Sophie arriving in Durrës the capital of Principality of Albania, (now Albania) on 7 March 1914

Eventually William agreed, and on 21 February 1914, Prince William and Princess Sophie hosted a delegation of Albanian notables at their castle in Neuwied, where William was formally offered the throne. The Albanian delegation then visited Waldenburg, Saxony, where they paid their respects to Princess Sophie's family.[1]

Sophie and her husband arrived in Albania on 7 March 1914, in Durrës, the provisional capital. However, her Albanian adventure proved short-lived. On 3 September 1914, with the country in turmoil, Princess Sophie and Prince William left Albania, never to return.[6] However, she officially remained the Princess of Albania until 31 January 1925, when the country was declared a republic.

Princess Sophie died at Fântânele, Romania.[5]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Heaton-Armstrong, Duncan (2005). The Six Month Kingdom: Albania 1914. I.B.Tauris. pp. xii, 14. ISBN 1-85043-761-0.
  2. ^ The Ghica family was a Greek Orthodox Phanariote dynasty of Albanian origin
  3. ^ Outside the country and in diplomatic correspondence, she was styled "Princess Consort", but in Albania she was referred to as Queen.
  4. ^ Edinburgh, Marie of (1971). The story of my life. Ayer Publishing. pp. 541, 542. ISBN 0-405-02761-3.
  5. ^ a b Pearson, Owen (2006). Albania in the Twentieth Century: a history. I.B.Tauris. pp. 50, 377. ISBN 1-84511-013-7.
  6. ^ Hall, Richard C. (2000). The Balkan Wars, 1912–1913: Prelude to the First World War. Routledge. pp. 131. ISBN 0-415-22946-4.

External links[edit]

Sophie, Princess of Albania
Cadet branch of the House of Schönburg
Born: 21 May 1885 Died: 3 February 1936
Albanian royalty
New title Princess of Albania
7 March 1914 – 3 September 1914
Title next held by
Geraldine Apponyi de Nagy-Apponyi
as Queen of the Albanians