Royal Decorations and Warrents

Royal Warrant

 Royal Warrants are a prestigious mark of recognition to those who are regular suppliers of goods and services to the Royal Compound.

The decision to award Royal Warrants is made by HRH Crown Prince Leka of the Albanians. All the details regarding the use of the Royal warrant are regulated by separate rules and contracts. Royal Purveyors are allowed to display the Royal Coat of Arms with the words “By appointment to HRH Crown Prince Leka of the Albanians” on the packaging of their products.

Royal Warrants are regulated by Contract and valid for a year, which may be extended or terminated by both sides. Termination can occur at any time if certain conditions are not met.

Orders of chivalry of the Crown of Albania

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Established under the republican regime by Ahmet Zogu, head of State, the Albanian chivalric orders were adopted as dynastic and merit awards by the House of Zogu since the proclamation of the monarchy in September 1928.

The King of Albanians, head of the House of Zog, is automatically chief and sovereign grand master of these Orders.

During the Italian invasion, the King of Italy, Victor-Emmanuel III, usurped the crown of Albania and awarded the royal orders in an illegitimate way as a kind of colonial ones. After his renunciation of the crown of Albania acquired by violent means in 1939, the chief of the House of Savoy also stopped being grand-master of the royal Albanian orders.

(Note: Officially the Albanian royal court never recognized the reign of the Savoy family in Albania.)

H.M. King Zog I and H.M. Leka I of Albanians, continued to award legally the royal orders and in a continuous way in exile (1939-2002) and after the return of the Royal Family in Albania.

According to the principles involved in assessing the validity of Orders of chivalry, it is generally admitted by specialists that such ex-sovereigns who have not abdicated retain their full rights as “fons honorum” in respect even of those Orders of which they remain Grand Masters which would be classed, otherwise, as State and Merit Orders.

The “fons honorum” of the Royal House of Albania includes three orders of chivalry, and a military order which is organised as a high distinguished military decoration.

HRH Crown Prince Leka II of the Albanians remains the head of the orders.

The Orders of chivalry (in order of precedence)

COLLAR OF ALBANIA

(Known also as the Collar of honour of Albania) Established 3.12.1925.

One class order reserved to the King as head of State and sovereign grand master of the Royal orders, granted to the Crown Prince and other sovereigns or heads of State. In the past personalities like King Farouk of Egypt or King Albert I of Belgium were holders of this most prestigious order.

ORDER OF THE FIDELITY (Urdhëri i Besës) Established 22.12.1926

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Awarded for extraordinary achievements in every field and especially for eminent services rendered to the State, the Sovereign and the Royal family. Three classes : knight, officer, knight commander ; two dignities : grand-officer, grand-sash with star.

The Order of the Fidelity is the highest distinction granted by the King of Albanians. The dignity of grand-sash with star is reserved to the King and the Queen of the Albanians and it can be accorded to the Crown Prince, heads of State and exceptionally high rank diplomats.

The numerous clauses of Albanians bearers of the grand-sash dignity is fixed for 6. King Zog I and King Leka I granted the grand-sash to personalities like the King Farouk of Egypt, Prince Abib of Turkey, shah Reza Pahlevi of Iran and Anwar el-Sadate, president of Egypt.

ORDER OF SKANDERBEG (Urdhëri i Skënderbeut) Established 3.12.1925.

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Most senior of the Albanian orders created by Ahmet Zogu, head of State, the Order of Skanderbeg is awarded for distinguished services rendered to the Crown and achievements in every field of the society. Three classes : knight, officer, knight commander ; two digntities : grand-officer, grand-sash with star.

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The dignity of grand-sash with star is reserved to high personalities, diplomats, and notable individuals as a merit distinction. The numerus clausus for Albanians bearers of the grand-sash is fixed for 40.

MILITARY ORDER OF BRAVERY (Urdhni i Trimnis) Established 10.1.1928.

The highest military merit award, accorded to officers and members of the armed forces that show extraordinary bravery deeds during war time. Consists in three ranks : Brave (Trim), Martyr (Theror), Hero (Hero). Includes also a medal for the non-commissioned officers in two classes (silver, gold). The numerus clausus were fixed for 5 (Hero), 12 (Martyr), 40 (Brave) ; 100 (gold medal), 200 (silver).

King Zog was the unique bearer of the highest rank (Hero) and only one Albanian was decorated with this order, Abaz Kupi, the chief of the royalist resistance in Albania during the Second World War.

Written by: Thomas Frasheri KHSJ
Albanian Royal expert of the Orders of Chivalry
Paris, France 26/01/2011