And the Appony dynasty:
Queen Geraldine was born on the 6th of August 1915 in Budapest. She died in Tirana at the age of eighty-seven, 23 October 2002.
Queen Geraldine comes from the well known Hungarian Appony family. The family dates back to the middle ages, when Hungary was occupied by Arpadian in 894, where the family participated in the establishment of the Hungarian Monarchy under the Arpadian dynasty.
By the end of the Arpadian dynasty in 1280, for the first time appears the name Chevalier d’Appony, the owner of a very large farm which archival documents confirmed that maintained the name “Nagy Appony” which until late remained a property of the family. All the forefathers of the Appony family had a successful political career, preserving high rank positions within the Austrian Empire, with titles as barons, counts etc.
The Apponyi family
Queen Geraldine cousin, Count Albert Appony headed the Hungarian delegation at the Peace Conference in Versailles and later represented Hungary at the League of Nations, meanwhile her Grandfather count Lajosh Appony had the highest honorific functions of the Austrian Empire, as Personal Adviser and Chamberlain of Franc Jozefit and Grand Marshall of the Imperial court of Franc Jozef. Her Grandmother was a Prussian Aristocrat, the daughter of Count Herman Roger de Seherr-Tos, decedent of Prince Ernest-Joakim d' Anhalt, from whom descended the better part of European Royal dynasty, his nickname was “Father of the Kings”. Based on the Trianoni Treaty of the 1919 their fatherland Hungary, was divided and the largest part of the Hungarian territory including 3 and half million of the Hungarian people and properties of the Appony family, were taken by Slovakia.
Queen Geraldines grandfather was Jon Harry Stewart, from a Scottish Noble family, who emigrated to the United States in the XVII century and was a successful diplomat, meanwhile Her grandmother from mother side was from the Harding family, who where large owners of the land in North Caroline. She was the daughter of count Gyula Appony and Countess Glayds Virginia Stewart, from the state of Maryland, whose father was the General Consul of the USA in Holland.
Geraldine was the oldest daughter, and had a younger sister named Virginia and a brother Jula. After the death of their grandmother, their fathers’ sister, countess Fanny Karolyi looked after Geraldine and her sister. her aunty, countess Fanny owned one of the famous and wonderful castles in Hungaria in Zebegeny. The girls used to spent their summers at the Zebegeny castle. Due to Gerladina's beauty, Her natural white skin and Her white dresses Geraldine was called “The White Rose of Hungary”. Geraldine inherited the best values and virtues from her forefathers.
Countess Geraldine was sent to an English school in Menton, France. After graduating, her grandparents sent Her to the “Sacred Heart “college in Press Baum near Vienna where she graduated in Social Sciences and Finance. Countess Geraldine was fully dedicated to stenography, sociology, history and literature. Her family’s library consisted of 30.000 books. Due to Her encyclopedia knowledge and various foreign languages, Countess Geraldine worked at the National Museum of Hungary during her teenage years.
During Her short stay in Albania, HM Queen Geraldine fully participated to further strengthen the welfare of the Albanian people, particularly those in need. Her Majesty contributed in the building and the functioning of the institutions such as hospitals, asylums and orphanages.
Her Majesty, Queen Geraldine was fully committed to the promotion of women rights as well as their emancipation. Her Majesty worked hard in order to promote hospital services in Albania, and majorly contributed to the building, then running of the Military Hospital in Tirana.
She brought from Austria the best doctors to administrate the Military Hospital. It was Her determination to establish the first Albania maternity in Tirana. One of the projects to be remembered is the mobilization and the building of the Albanian Red Cross. HM Queen Geraldine enabled the first radio phonic news edition in Radio Tirana. Her priority was the introduction to Albanian society of values, and a better way of life especially in the rural areas.
Her priorities were the general emancipation of the Albanian society, particularly those in the rural areas. HM the Queen, also managed to find time for the welfare of her own family, in particular in educating her son.
Queen Geraldina will always be remembered for her devotion towards her adopted Nation, even in exile she remained active beside her son, until her final return to Albania and ultimate passing.