And the Appony dynasty:
Queen Mother Geraldine was born on 6 august 1916 at Her Grandmothers’ house in Geneva, Switzerland.
Queen Geraldine comes from a 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 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. The Appony family has blood relations with all the Kingdoms of Europe.
Queen Geraldines grandfather was Jon Harry Stewart, from a Scottish Noble family, 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, whom where the largest owners of the land in North Caroline. She was the daughter of count Gyula Appony and Countess Glayds Virginia Stewart, who was a very rich American woman from the state of Maryland, whose father was the General Consul of America in Holland.
Geraldine was the oldest daughter, but had a younger sister named Virginia and a brother named Jula. After the death of their grandmother, their fathers’ sister, countess Fanny Karolyi looked after Geraldine and Her sister. Her aunty, countess Fanny owns one of the famous and wonderful castles in Hungaria in Zebegeny. The girls used to spent their summers at the Zebegeny castle and have taken the name of a flower. For Her 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.
Being an orphan as a child, under the care of her grandparents Apponys, 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 provided. Due to Her encyclopedia knowledge and various foreign languages, Countess Geraldine worked as at the National Museum of Hungary.
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 frequent visits to these institutions were considered an obligatory work for her.
Her Majesty, Queen Geraldine was fully committed for the promotion of women rights as well as their emancipation. Her Majesty worked hard in order to promote hospital service in Albania, and majorly contributed building and 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 of the rural areas. Apart from the dedication of Her work dedicated to the well beings of the Albanians, HM the Queen, managed to find time for the welfare of Her own family, in particular the influence to educate most efficiently His Royal Highness Prince Leka I.
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.