Tirana: Albania`s top leaders and thousands of people paid their last respect on Saturday to the country`s only post-independence monarch, King Ahmet Zog I, half a century after he died and was buried in exile.
The nation`s television stations broadcast live the burial ceremony in the capital, a day after Zog`s remains were returned from France. He was buried in the family`s mausoleum, alongside his Hungarian wife, Queen Geraldina, his son Leka I and his wife Susan.
Zog proclaimed himself Albania`s monarch in 1928 and ruled until 1939 when he fled Albania after it was occupied by fascist Italy. Albania`s post-World War II communist regime abolished the monarchy in 1946.
Albania remains a parliamentary republic after the fall of communism in 1990.
The royal family returned to Albania in 2002 leading a quiet life though never relinquishing the claim to the throne.
Prime Minister Sali Berisha said that Albanian`s honor Zog "for his historic contribution in building up this country."