NABOKV-L post 0007211, Tue, 3 Dec 2002 13:10:09 -0800

Fw: =- Pale Fire -=- All Hail King Zog! -=
----- Original Message -----
From: "Thomas Bolt -- b0sh0tmalt" <>
To: "Vladimir Nabokov Forum" <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, December 03, 2002 11:18 AM
Subject: =- Pale Fire -=- All Hail King Zog! -=
> ===============================
> All hail King Zog !
> ===============================
> A Source for Charles Kinbote
> Palace intrigues.
> A "reader of Shakespeare."
> Assassination attempts.
> A bearded Royal Guard.
> Crown jewels.
> A middle-aged "bachelor king"--a manly dandy.
> A powerful red car (wedding gift from Hitler).
> A country bent sinister by both Fascists and Communists.
> A series of fantastic escapes.
> An exiled king, making the best of life in America.
> A queen's villa on the French Riviera....
> I learned about this real-life
> Kinbote recently when less-than-ideal
> insomnia found me reading THE LIFE
> OF IAN FLEMING. Fleming, then a Naval
> Reserve officer, is overseeing the
> last-minute escape from France of
> various VIPs as German tanks roll in:
> "From time to time German bombers came, but nothing stopped the
> evacuation, and by dusk nearly all the refugees were away. Then
> came a coup de théâtre. The last boat was nearly filled when
> motor-horns were heard in the distance; and over the
> cobblestones rolled a cavalcade of enormous motor cars carrying
> King Zog of Albania, his family, and mountains of luggage,
> including the crown jewels of Albania. Somehow Fleming managed
> to get the royal party safely off...."
> --John Pearson, 1966, Jonathan Cape, London, page 105
> Which led me to this riot of parallels
> in the very first place I looked:
> King Zog in America (1951)
> Ahmed Bey Zogu, born in 1895, battled innumerable Balkan
> adversaries to consolidate control of his country after the
> First World War, became President in 1925, and declared himself
> King Zog I in 1928. For his coronation, he ordered an outfit
> that included rose-colored breeches, gold spurs, and a gold
> crown weighing seven and five-eighths pounds.
> Zog's preoccupation once he was on the throne was how to stay
> alive. In 1931, he barely escaped assassination at the hands of
> two gunmen as he was leaving a performance of "Pagliacci" at the
> Vienna Opera House. His mother kept watch over the royal kitchen
> to make sure his food was not being poisoned. A virtual recluse
> in his capital city, Tirana, which in any case had neither night
> clubs nor theatres, Zog did little except play poker and smoke
> as many as a hundred and fifty perfumed cigarettes a day.
> Understandably, perhaps, shaking Europe's royal family trees for
> a queen yielded Zog no fruit. But his four sisters, each of them
> a division commander in the Albanian army and none of them
> married themselves, helped in the search, and he eventually
> found a penniless half-American, half-Hungarian countess,
> Geraldine Apponyi, who had been selling postcards in the
> Budapest National Museum for forty-five dollars a month. Her
> photograph captured Zog's heart, and they were married in 1938.
> A year later, Italy invaded Albania, routing its thirteen
> thousand troops and two airplanes within forty-eight hours.
> Having fled to England with his family and a hefty portion of
> his country's gold, Zog watched from afar as Mussolini's
> Fascists and then Enver Hoxha's Communists took over his
> kingdom. Zog was formally deposed in absentia in 1946. Having
> temporarily moved to Egypt, he became friends with King Farouk
> while he pondered the serious question of where an ex-monarch
> could live.
> He found the answer, he thought, during a 1951 tour of the
> United States: Knollwood, a sixty-room granite mansion that had
> been built on Long Island's North Shore in 1907. Zog bought it
> for $102,800 (not for "a bucket of diamonds and rubies," as some
> stories claimed at the time). Italian Renaissance in style,
> Knollwood boasted tall Ionic columns and a winding main stairway
> of Caen marble. Massive stone steps led down to vast reaches of
> landscaping, with gardens and reflecting pools. English ivy
> covered parts of wide terraces and also hung from marble
> fountains and urns. "A man must have a place to lay his head,"
> the Times commented, "and if Zog feels he must have sixty rooms
> to do it in, that is his business."
> Zog, it was announced, intended to turn Knollwood into his
> kingdom in exile. In its grounds would live Albanian subjects,
> working the land as his tenants. North Shore society, delighted
> at the prospect of royalty in its back yard, was soon flocking
> to Knollwood. At its gates, visitors were greeted by a bearded
> member of the Royal Guard: he would kiss their hands and turn
> them away.
> Alas, Zog wanted to settle into the mansion with his entire
> court, of a hundred and fifteen, but the immigration authorities
> would allow him to bring only twenty into the country. Attempts
> to bribe the State Department failed, and in 1952 he was forced
> to pay $2,914 in taxes to save his property, having been unable
> to convince Nassau County that as a monarch he had sovereign
> immunity from such trifles. In 1955, he sold Knollwood, which
> had meanwhile suffered eight thousand dollars' worth of damage
> from vandals. The vandals thereupon converged on the estate in
> earnest, ripping it apart in search of treasure that was rumored
> to be buried in its grounds. The mansion was later demolished,
> and Zog spent his last days in a nearly empty villa on the
> French Riviera, with Queen Geraldine doing the housework. He
> died in 1961.
> Excerpted from Muttontown's King, The New Yorker, pp. 33 & 34,
> September 11, 1989
> =-=-=-=-=
> His queen died only last month:
> 'White rose' blossomed in exile
> November 14 2002
> Queen Geraldine of Albania King's consort 1915-2002
> Her Majesty Queen Geraldine of the Albanians, who has died aged
> 87, was the wife of King Zog, the ruler of Albania for the two
> decades before World War II.
> As Countess Geraldine Apponyi, before her marriage to the
> 42-year-old bachelor king in 1938, she was one of Europe's great
> aristocratic beauties, sometimes referred to as "the white rose
> of Hungary".
> At 22, she became the second-youngest queen in the world; only
> King Farouk of Egypt's consort, Queen Farida, was younger.
> But in 1939, after only 388 days as Queen on Albanian soil, she
> and King Zog were forced to flee the country as Mussolini's
> forces overran it. They lived the rest of their lives in exile.
> Geraldine Apponyi was born in Budapest, a daughter of the
> Hungarian nobleman Count Gyula Apponyi de Nagy-Appony and his
> wife Gladys, daughter of John H. Stewart, the American consul at
> Antwerp.
> Geraldine's parents had met in Paris in 1912, at a dinner party
> at the Austro-Hungarian embassy, and were married in 1914. Her
> paternal grandfather, Count Ludwig Apponyi, was grand marshal of
> the Hapsburg court in Budapest.
> After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire at the end of
> World War I, the Apponyis left Hungary and went to Switzerland.
> They returned to Hungary in 1921 but, after Count Gyula's death
> in 1924, Gladys Apponyi decided to take her three children -
> Geraldine, Virginia and Gyula - to live near her widowed mother
> at Menton, in the south of France.
> But when Gladys then remarried - to a French army officer - the
> Apponyi family insisted that the girls be returned to Hungary.
> She agreed, and they were sent to board at the Sacred Heart
> school at Pressbaum, near Vienna, spending the holidays with
> their grandmother and aunts and uncles at the family's country
> estate.
> When Geraldine was 16 her grandmother died, and thereafter she
> and Virginia spent most of their holidays at Zebegny with their
> go-ahead aunt Countess Fanny Karolyi. In the mornings at
> Zebegny, the girls learnt shorthand and typing.
> At 17, staying at the Karolyi Palace in Budapest, Geraldine came
> out at a ball given by the Hungarian monarchists; one of several
> photographs taken of Geraldine at that ball would fix the
> direction of her life.
> Some years later she received, out of the blue, a letter from
> one of King Zog's six sisters inviting her to stay in Albania.
> Anxious to find a European bride (and one without a past), King
> Zog had sent his sisters to Vienna and Budapest to search for a
> suitable candidate. They had sent back to Tirana copies of the
> photographs taken of Geraldine at the ball.
> King Zog's trusty General Cyczy visited Geraldine and the
> Apponyis in Budapest to confirm the invitation, and Geraldine's
> friend, Countess Katherine Teleki, was sent to Tirana to thank
> the king and to "have a good look around".
> Subsequently, Geraldine wrote to accept the invitation and, just
> after Christmas 1937, she set off. The visit was a success; King
> Zog proposed marriage on New Year's Day and, after a decent
> interval, on January 10 Geraldine accepted. Her guardian, Count
> Charles Apponyi, gave his consent and Geraldine was given the
> rank of Princess of Albania.
> The marriage - a civil ceremony (King Zog was a Muslim, his
> bride a Roman Catholic) - took place in the spring of 1938.
> Geraldine wore a pearl and diamante wedding dress - which the
> king had ordered from Worth, in Paris - and orange blossom in
> her hair. She had six bridesmaids, and the wedding cake, which
> she cut with her husband's sabre, was three metres wide.
> The wedding presents included a phaeton and four Lipizzaner
> horses from Admiral Horthy, the Regent of Hungary, and a scarlet
> supercharged Mercedes from Adolf Hitler. King Victor Emmanuel of
> Italy sent a bronze equestrian statue of a dragoon; Mussolini
> sent some copper vases.
> When the Italians invaded Albania in April 1939, the king and
> queen fled with the infant Prince Leka - who spent only three
> days after his birth in Albania - via Greece to England. The
> puppet government announced that the crown of Albania had passed
> to King Victor Emmanuel of Italy.
> After a prolonged odyssey through Europe - Greece, Turkey,
> Romania, Poland, the Baltic states, Sweden, Belgium and France -
> the king, queen and prince arrived at the Ritz Hotel in London
> in 1940 with an entourage of 30, including the King's six
> sisters. They would remain in England for the duration of the
> war, moving from the Ritz to Parmoor House, a country house they
> rented in the Chilterns.
> When Auberon Herbert (son of that enthusiast for Albania,
> diplomat and MP Aubrey Herbert) paid them a visit in
> Buckinghamshire, it seemed to him that King Zog - once described
> by Aubrey Herbert as "a reader of Shakespeare and a fine
> fighting man" - did "nothing but nurse his majesty and take tiny
> Parisian walks".
> After the war, once it was clear that they would be unable to
> return to Albania, they moved to Egypt, at the invitation of
> King Farouk, where they were joined by other exiled European
> royalty to whom Farouk was ready to grant refuge.
> After Nasser toppled Farouk and the latter departed from Egypt
> in 1952 - Queen Geraldine watched Farouk board his yacht at
> Alexandria through binoculars - King Zog, whose health was
> failing, moved his family and entourage to France.
> After nearly a decade of declining health, King Zog died in
> hospital in Paris in April 1961; by the time of his death he had
> survived 55 assassination attempts.
> Queen Geraldine subsequently lived in Spain and South Africa,
> before returning to Albania at the invitation of 40 members of
> parliament this year. She is survived by her son Leka, who in
> exile was proclaimed king of the Albanians by the Albanian
> National Assembly, in Paris, after his father's death.
> --Telegraph, London
> ===========================
> ZOG comes after ZEMBLA in index-order...
> a last ghost-entry?
> ~ Tom
> PS
> If there are any Albanians on the
> List, I would love to hear more.