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European royal couple announce divorce after 7 years of marriage


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The crown prince and crown princess of Albania have announced they are divorcing after seven years of marriage. 

Crown Prince Leka II, 41, and Crown Princess Elia, 40, announced the split via a statement that was posted on the crown prince’s Instagram page. Albania, which has a population of around 2.8 million people, is located to the east of Italy on the southeastern part of Europe’s Balkan Peninsula.

The European royals, who wed in a lavish ceremony in 2016 attended by a host of major monarchs, share a 3-year-old daughter together, Princess Geraldine. 

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"Hello friends and lovers," the statement reads, having been translated into English from Albanian.

"Through this post, I officially inform you that LTM Prince Leka and Elia Zharaia [Crown Princess Elia] 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."

The statement added that the well-being of Princess Geraldine will "remain at the center of their attention, dedicated to ensuring 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. 

It is unclear what led to the split. 

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Prince Leka is the grandson of former King Zog I of Albania, who was the leader of Albania from 1922 until 1939, when he was deposed when Italy invaded Albania ahead of World War 2. Benito Mussolini declared Albania an Italian protectorate and forced Zog into exile. 

Crown Princess Elia is a former actress and singer.

They named their daughter after the prince’s late grandmother, Queen Geraldine. Leka's mother was Australian-born Crown Princess Susan, who hailed from Sydney before meeting Zog’s son, King Leka, at a dinner party in 1975, according to Sky News. 

The Albanian royal family is known as the House of Zogu.

Leka was head of the family from 1961 until his death in 2011 when he was succeded by Leka II.

The crown prince and princess are not technically linked to the current government of Albania, a republic since 1946. However, Leka has worked with the Albanian government in foreign diplomacy, according to Sky News. His 2016 wedding was studded with royals, including Queen Sofia of Spain and Queen Elizabeth II’s cousin Prince Michael of Kent.

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