Princess Sophie of Schönburg-Waldenburg (Sophie Helene Cecilie; 21 May 1885 – 3 February 1936) was the consort of Prince William of Wied. With her husband's ascension 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.
Family and marriage
Princess Sophie was born in Potsdam, Brandenburg the daughter of Hereditary Prince Victor of Schönburg-Waldenburg (1856–1888) and his wife Princess Lucia of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (1859–1903), both members of German mediatised dynasties. She had some remote Albanian ancestry, being a descendant of Ruxandra Ghica, daughter of Grigore I Ghica, Prince of Wallachia.
Her maternal grandparents were Prince Emil of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (1824–1878) and his first wife Pulcheria Cantacuzene (1820–1865), a Romanian princess. Emil was the son of August Ludwig, Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (1788–1874) and Franziska Allesina gennant von Schweitzer (1802–1878).
Both of Princess Sophie's parents died when she was young so she spent much of her youth at the Fantanele estate in Moldavia, which was owned by her maternal relatives.
On 30 November 1906 at Waldenburg, Saxony Princess Sophie married Prince William of Wied, they had two children.
Princess Marie Eleonore of Albania (1909–1956)
Carol Victor, Hereditary Prince of Albania (1913–1973)
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. 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. Princess Sophie and Queen Elisabeth both worked to overcome William's reluctance to accept the throne.
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.
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. 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.
Ancestors of Princess Sophie of Albania
16. Otto, Prince of Schönburg-Waldenburg
8. Otto Viktor, Prince of Schönburg-Waldenburg
17. Princess Henriette Reuß-Köstritz
4. Otto, Prince of Schönburg-Waldenburg
18. Louis Frederick II, Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
9. Princess Thekla of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
19. Landgravine Karoline of Hesse-Homburg
2. Victor, Hereditary Prince of Schönburg-Waldenburg
10. Apollinaris Labunski
5. Pàmela Labunska
11. Iuliana Popow
1. Princess Sophie of Schönburg-Waldenburg
24. Christian Heinrich, 1st Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
12. Prince August of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
25. Countess Charlotte Friederike of Leiningen-Westerburg