Parents: William, prince of Wied, and Marie of the Netherlands
Date of Birth: 26 March 1876
Spouse: Sophie, daughter of Victor of Schönburg-Waldenburg and Lucia of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
Reign: 7 March 1914 – 3 September 1914
Summary: Wilhelm began his life as the third son of a prince who ruled a small region in Germany. While his family certainly had connections, namely with the Dutch and Saxon rulers, the principality was nothing overly important. William served as a Prussian cavalry officer in the mid-1900s and became a captain in the German General Staff in 1911. Elisabeth, queen consort of Romania, brought William to the forefront when she nominated him for the position of "prince of Albania" in 1913. The country had just become independent of Ottoman control and the Great Powers were seeking to install a monarch. All of the powers agreed with Elisabeth that William would be a good fit. In November of 1913, the provisional government accepted the appointment and in February 1914, William made his acceptance of the title official. Albania was a backwater country at the time with little law and much poverty. William had originally refused the offer, but with World War I building up, the Austrians convinced him to accept it.
In March 1914, William, now Vidi I, began appointing royal ministers and forming his cabinet. He opted to choose locals for almost all positions to avoid appearing as a foreign puppet monarch. But even so, he was not able to avoid problems. Muslims revolted when he arrived, claiming foreign domination of Albania. Greece also interfered. Fearing for the native Greeks in southern Albania, Greece encouraged a secessionist movement in the south. The Greeks occupied southern Albania, which they called North Epirus, throughout Viri I's reign. The prince suffered defections from within his own government as well. His chief minister, Essad Pasha, accepted money from Italy to stage a revolt and coup against Viri. Viri arrested his minister in May and sentenced him to death, but Italy was able to force an exile instead. When World War I broke out, Austria-Hungary demanded that Albania send troops to fight for the Central Powers. When Viri refused, citing the Treaty of London, Austria cut off funds. Everything fell apart after that. Albania was in a civil war from July 1914 to the end of his reign. Viri finally abandoned the country in September and rejoined the Imperial German Army. In 1916, Austria removed troops it had sent to occupy Albania, and Viri thought he may be able to reclaim his principality, but he was not invited back. He was officially deposed in 1925 when Albania proclaimed itself a republic. When President Ahmet Zogu proclaimed himself king in 1928, Viri reaffirmed his claim to the throne but his family was never restored. His claim passed to his son, Carol Victor, when Viri died in 1945. Carol Victor died childless in 1973 and the family's claim to Albania went extinct.
Date of Death: 18 April 1945
Successor: Carol Victor