Sunday, February 12, 2012
Birthday of the Prince of Naples
However, that was as close as the little prince would ever come to the throne. The monarchy was abolished, the King, Queen and their children were forced to go into exile and nearly a thousand years of Savoy rule came to an end in Europe. For Prince Vittorio Emanuele, trouble would follow him like a loyal dog for the rest of his life. In 1971 he carried out his unequal marriage to Marina Ricolfi-Doria in Iran (during festivities celebrating the anniversary of the Persian monarchy) which, many would later claim, invalidated him for the position of Head of the House of Savoy and heir to the former throne of the Kingdom of Italy. He has also been involved in numerous troubles that have caused many to regard him as having an unsavory reputation. In 1969 he even attempted to "usurp" the position of his father by declaring himself King of Italy in exile. The fact that he later renounced his claim to the throne and swore allegiance to the Italian republic in order to be able to return to Italy after the ban against the family was lifted in 2002 also caused many to regard him as having surrendered any claim to the leadership of the House of Savoy.
Those who believe that his unequal marriage (and other reasons mentioned) invalidates him as the rightful successor to his father have looked to HRH Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta for leadership. Each have their adherents and both can present evidence for their claim and point to flaws in that put forward by the other side. However, regardless of which side one may take, there is no denying the fact that Prince Vittorio Emanuele is the only son of the last King of Italy and therefore holds a special significance in the very long history of the Savoia dynasty. Whether the future of the Italian royal legacy resides with his son, Prince Emanuele Filiberto, or the son of the Duke of Aosta, Prince Aimone, is something every individual must decide for themselves at this point. For now, I only point out that the last son of a King of Italy was born 75 years ago today.