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CLASSIC CINDERELLA PRINCE WILLIAM OF WIED

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    Posted: 29 May 2010 at 06:23
Albania Classic Phantom Stamp 1914




This stamp was prepared for the Principality of Albania in 1914 but was never used.  The man shown on the stamp is William of Wied.  Outside the country and in diplomatic correspondence, he was styled sovereign prince, but in Albania he was referred to as mbret, or king. He was also styled Skanderbeg II, in homage to Skanderbeg the founder of Albania.
    
There is such a good backstory to this stamp that I cobbled this together from various sources for your reading pleasure.

History of the Principality of Albania

In 1913, following the second Balkan War, Albania was split among Serbia (Central Albania), Montenegro (Northern Albania) and Greece (Southern Albania). Austria-Hungary supported the independence of Albania whereas Russia and Serbia rejected it.

The London conference, including representatives from Austria-Hungary, Italy, Russia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, proclaimed on 29 July 1913 the independence of Albania. Article 1 of the final agreement stated:

    Albania shall be an [...] hereditary Principality placed under the guarantee of the six powers. The Prince shall be appointed by the six powers.

The civil administration and the finances were to be operated for 10 years by an international commission representing the six powers. The military security of the Principality was to be provided by a Gendarmerie commanded by Dutch officers.

The Wied family is a very ancient German noble family, known since 1100. They probably originated on the left side of the Rhine and settled down later in the Westerwald, where they still live today. The head of the family bears the title of hereditary prince (Fürst) since Count Johann Friedrich Alexander of Wied-Neuwied was raised in this rank on 29 May 1784. The house lost its sovereignty after the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815).
Among the famous members of the family are:

- Count Hermann (1477-1552), Archbishop and Elector of Cologne (1515-1547), who introduced the Reformation in Cologne
- Prince Maximilian (1782-1867), who explored the north of Brazil on Humboldt's trail in 1815-1817 and Northern America in 1824-1832
- Princess Elizabeth (1843-1916), Queen of Romania and a famous poetess under the name of Carmen Sylva
- Prince Wilhelm (1876-1945), Prince of Albania from 7 March to 3 September 1914.

Wilhelm of Wied was not among the first 19 candidates to the throne, as listed by Christian Schmitz. However, Austria-Hungary and Italy said that the Prince had to be a Protestant in order to rule impartially the Mahometan, Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic components of the Albanian nation. Wied was also probably proposed by Germany against Austria-Hungary; Queen Elizabeth of Romania, née Princess of Wied, was his aunt, and King of Romania was the German Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. Since Germany was the least interested of the six powers in the Balkan question, the German candidate was accepted by the other powers.

On 21 February 1914, 18 Albanian delegates representing the 18 districts of Albania came to the castle of Neuwied and offerred the crown of their country to Prince Wilhelm of Wied.

The Prince accepted and landed with his family in Durrës on 7 March 1914, but his rule was short and unsuccessful. Wied was a brilliant officer but had no skills for international diplomacy. Moreover, he lacked the promised international political and financial support; Italy openly intrigued against him and Germany refused to depart from strict neutrality. The Muslims in Central Albania revolted, led by the Toptani family and its leader Essad Pasha, and asked for the reincorporation into Turkey. Wied left Albania on 3 September 1914, one month after the beginning of the First World War.

He returned to Germany and rejoined the Imperial German Army under the pseudonym "Count of Kruja".[6] The name derived from the city of Krujë in Albania. When the Austro-Hungarians forced the Serbian and Montenegrian armies out of Northern Albania in the early months of 1916, William's hopes of being restored were raised although ultimately they came to nothing. After the war, he still harboured ambitions that he might be restored, but the participants at the Paris Peace Conference were unlikely to restore to the throne someone who had just fought against them.

Although several of the factions competing for power in postwar Albania billed themselves as regencies for William, once central authority was definitively restored in 1924 the country was declared a republic on January 31 1925 officially ending his reign.[7]

With the monarchy in Albania set to be restored with President Ahmet Zogu becoming king, Prince William reaffirmed his claim to the throne announcing he still claimed the throne for himself and his heirs.

Prince William died in Predeal, near Sinaia, in Romania leaving his son Hereditary Prince Carol Victor as heir to his Albanian claims. He was buried in the Lutheran church in Bucharest.   

These stamps are among the few tangible remnants of his passage through history.

OZYMANDIAS

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.




Edited by ambrofos - 29 May 2010 at 06:23
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Steve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2010 at 09:43
As an aside to this story and absolutely nothing to do with stamps.

C.B. Fry was an English first class and test cricketer (1890-1921), top flight footballer, athlete (he joint held the world long jump record) and rugby player. He claimed to have been offered the throne of Albania while in Geneva (working for League of Nations) in 1920, but refused it as he he couldn't afford the train fare. He also told tall stories.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daniel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2010 at 10:41
Originally posted by Steve Steve wrote:

As an aside to this story and absolutely nothing to do with stamps.

C.B. Fry was an English first class and test cricketer (1890-1921), top flight footballer, athlete (he joint held the world long jump record) and rugby player. He claimed to have been offered the throne of Albania while in Geneva (working for League of Nations) in 1920, but refused it as he he couldn't afford the train fare. He also told tall stories.
There exists an appropriate Clerihew (a 4 line biographical poem with demented scansion and invented by E. Clerihew Bentley) which runs, from memory:
 
C.B.Fry
was a most self-effacing type of guy
Completely devoid of megalomania
He once turned down the throne of Albania


Edited by Daniel - 02 June 2010 at 07:24
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ambrofos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2010 at 13:30
Can you name the English Cricketer who was also a Maharajah? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Steve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 June 2010 at 06:43
Originally posted by ambrofos ambrofos wrote:

Can you name the English Cricketer who was also a Maharajah? 


Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji, Maharajah Jam Saheb of Nawanag

(i cheated and used Google though)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ambrofos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 June 2010 at 13:35

Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji Jadeja, Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar (10 September 1872 - 2 April 1933) (known as K.S. Ranjitsinhji, Ranji or Smith during his career)[1] was an Indian King and Test cricketer who played for the English cricket team [2] . He also played first-class cricket for Cambridge University, and county cricket for Sussex.

Ranji is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time,[3] Neville Cardus describing him as "the Midsummer night's dream of cricket". Unorthodox in technique and with fast reactions, he brought a new style to batting and revolutionised the game. Previously batsmen generally pushed forward; Ranji took advantage of the improving pitches of the time and relied on a back and across defensive stroke and played elegant strokes off the back foot in attack. He had a strong late cut and is noted for his popularisation or invention of the leg glance. The first-class cricket tournament in India, the Ranji Trophy, was named in his honour and inaugurated in 1935 by the Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala.

Outside cricket, Ranji became Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar in 1907; was Chancellor of the Indian Chamber of Princes; and represented India at the League of Nations. His official title was Colonel H. H. Shri Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji, Jam Sahib of Nawanagar, GCSI, GBE. His nephew Duleepsinhji achieved similar fame as a batsman playing first-class cricket in England and for the English cricket team.[1]

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hilary Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 June 2010 at 21:52
Why is it that so many threads of this forum end up at cricket?  Is there a synergy?

I worked with someone whose mother-in-law was a minor member of the Albanian royal family, so I suppose that made her an even more minor member!

With a memory full of ships, and seas, and perilous headlands, and the shining Pharos, he must apply his long sighted eyes to the petty niceties of drawing. - Robert Louis Stevenson
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Steve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 June 2010 at 06:55
Originally posted by Hilary Hilary wrote:

Why is it that so many threads of this forum end up at cricket?


Live and learn Grasshopper.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daniel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 January 2018 at 09:50
Here are 2 of the seven stamps that were prepared for use but not issued. In 2014 Albania issued a set of 4 postage stamps in Wied's (Vidi in Albanian) honour marking the centenary of his monarchy having previously issued a pair of stamps in 2004. In 2008 a postage stamp was issued to mark the 80th anniversary of King Zog. So, Albania has now embraced its Royal past.

Prince wied by Spicer57, on Flickr
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