Royal couple of Albania announces divorce after eight years of marriage

Crown Prince Leka and Crown Princess Elia of Albania have announced they are divorcing after eight years of marriage.

The former couple, who tied the knot in October 2016 at the former Royal Palace of Tirana, shared the news to Crown Prince Leka’s official Instagram on 15 January. Leka, the head of the Albanian royal family, and Elia Zharaia, an Albanian actor and singer, share one child together: three-year-old daughter, Princess Geraldine.

“Hello friends and lovers,” began the statement, per People’s English translation. “Through this post, I officially inform you that LTM Prince Leka and Elia Zharaia have agreed to end their marriage. Since marriage has lost its function, they have decided to resolve it with mutual consent by starting the necessary legal procedures.”

In the statement, the royals maintained that their daughter remains “at the centre of their dedicated attention to ensure a happy and safe life”.

“Regardless of the commitment to the institution of the family, LTM Leka believes that the values ​​of mutual respect and understanding will form the basis of the relationship in its continuity, which will have as its motive the growth and education of LSM Princess Geraldine!!!” the post concluded.

The statement added that Prince Leka, 41, will not be offering further comment and asked for privacy during this time. Hello! magazine reported that Elia, 40, had commented on the divorce in a since-deleted statement. “Friends and well-wishers, I need to inform you that today we started the legal procedures for the settlement of marriage, as we jointly decided to seek a divorce,” Elia reportedly said.

“This is not at all a reality that makes me happy, as I believe in family values as the most precious thing! I would never have chosen for my daughter to grow up with separate parents, but sometimes separation is the only option,” she continued, according to the outlet. “What matters most, is that my baby girl experiences this moment as easily as possible. Thank you very much to all of you who wrote to me and gave me courage!”

“Despite these difficult months I’ve gone through, your kindness has given me strength. I wish you health and happiness in your families,” she concluded, per Hello!

Crown Prince Leka is the grandson of the late King Zog I, who ruled the Albanian Kingdom from 1928 to 1939. He became the heir to the Albanian crown following the death of his father, King Leka I, in 2011.

According to his royal bio, Leka met Elia Zaharia in 2008 and they were engaged in Paris in 2010. They welcomed their daughter, Princess Geraldine, in October 2022 and named her after the prince’s late grandmother, Queen Geraldine.