Advertisement

Royal Couple Announces Divorce After 8 Years of Marriage in Separate Statements

Crown Prince Leka and Crown Princess Elia of Albania are going their separate ways

  • Crown Prince Leka II of Albania and his wife Elia Zharaia have announced that they are getting divorced.

  • The couple married at the former Royal Palace of Tirana in October 2016.

  • Crown Prince Leka was photographed solo at a royal wedding in the fall.

Crown Prince Leka II and Crown Princess Elia of Albania are going their separate ways.

The news was announced in a statement shared to Crown Prince Leka’s official Instagram on Monday, which stressed that the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Princess Geraldine, remains their priority. Leka is the head of the Albanian royal family and married Elia Zharaia, an actress and singer, in 2016.

<p>OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty</p>

OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty

“Hello friends and loved ones,” began a message under the royal coat of arms, per an English translation. “Through this post, I officially inform you that LTM Prince Leka and Elia Zharaia have agreed to end their marriage. Since marriage has lost its function, they have decided to resolve it with mutual consent by starting the necessary legal procedures.”

“Regardless of the commitment to the institution of the family, LTM Leka believes that the values ​​of mutual respect and understanding will form the basis of the relationship in its continuity, which will have as its motive the growth and education of LSM Princess Geraldine!!!” the statement said, adding that Geraldine’s spiritual and physical well-being "will remain at the center of their dedicated attention to ensure a happy and safe life.”

Related: King Frederik X and Queen Mary of Denmark Celebrate New Reign with Surprise Kiss amid Affair Rumors

The statement said that Crown Prince Leka would not be offering further comment and asked for privacy during this time.

Leka is the grandson of the late King Zog I, who ruled the Albanian Kingdom from 1928 to 1939. According to his royal bio, he and Elia met in 2008, got engaged in Paris in 2010 and married at the (former) Royal Palace of Tirana on Oct. 8, 2016. Their daughter Geraldine was born on Oct. 22, 2002, and named after Queen Geraldine, who died 18 years to the day before her great-granddaughter was born.

Hello! magazine reported that Elia, 40, also commented on the divorce news in a separate statement that has since been deleted from social media.

<p>Luc Castel/Getty</p> Crown Prince Leka of Albania and Elia Zaharia on their October 2016 wedding day.

Luc Castel/Getty

Crown Prince Leka of Albania and Elia Zaharia on their October 2016 wedding day.

"Friends and well-wishers, I need to inform you that today we started the legal procedures for the settlement of marriage, as we jointly decided to seek a divorce,” Elia reportedly said.

"This is not at all a reality that makes me happy, as I believe in family values as the most precious thing! I would never have chosen for my daughter to grow up with separate parents, but sometimes separation is the only option,” she continued, according to the outlet. “What matters most, is that my baby girl experiences this moment as easily as possible. Thank you very much to all of you who wrote to me and gave me courage!”

“Despite these difficult months I've gone through, your kindness has given me strength. I wish you health and happiness in your families,” she concluded, according to Hello!

It remains unclear what royal title or styling, if any, Elia may retain after the divorce is finalized. She became Crown Princess of the Albanians when she married Leka eight years ago.

<p>Blerta Celibashi/DNphotography/ABACAPRESS.COM</p> Crown Princess Elia, Princess Geraldine and Crown Prince Leka on Princess Geraldine's birthday in October 2022.

Blerta Celibashi/DNphotography/ABACAPRESS.COM

Crown Princess Elia, Princess Geraldine and Crown Prince Leka on Princess Geraldine's birthday in October 2022.

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

During their marriage, Leka and Elia lived together in Tirana and worked to promote Albania and Kosova while running the Queen Geraldine Foundation. The royal family’s website outlines that Prince Leka has worked as an advisor within the Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior and the Albanian Presidents Office, while Princess Elia worked at the Albanian National Theater.

In October 2023, Leka was photographed solo at the royal wedding of Princess Maria Francisca de Braganza and Duarte de Sousa Araujo Martins in Portugal.

<p>Albert Nieboer/Netherlands OUT/Point de Vue OUT/dpa/Alamy Live News</p> Crown Prince Leka of Albania arrives at the Basilica Palacio de Mafra in October 2023 for the wedding of Princess Maria Francisca de Braganza and Duarte de Sousa Araujo Martins.

Albert Nieboer/Netherlands OUT/Point de Vue OUT/dpa/Alamy Live News

Crown Prince Leka of Albania arrives at the Basilica Palacio de Mafra in October 2023 for the wedding of Princess Maria Francisca de Braganza and Duarte de Sousa Araujo Martins.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.