Friday, September 28, 2012
Royal Profile: Prince Ferdinand, Duke of Genoa
In 1848, starting in Palermo, the Sicilians rose up in revolt against the House of Bourbon. The nobles of Sicily had, during the Napoleonic Wars, (with British encouragement) forced King Ferdinando III of Sicily and IV of Naples to enact a constitution which gave the Kingdom of Sicily a more British-style government. However, this constitution was later revoked and discontent had spread. On January 11, 1848 rebellion erupted again and in a more violent fashion. The old constitution was restored, establishing a representative government with the central role being given to an elected parliament. Rebel forces took control of almost the whole island (not the Bourbon bastion of Messina) and even talked of establishing a pan-Italian confederation. They also began looking around for an appropriate prince to be the new sovereign of their new constitutional monarchy and, given the leadership shown by King Carlo Alberto in Piedmont-Sardinia, quickly turned to his son the Duke of Genoa. Knowing his temperament and background, the representatives of the British government were pleased with such a choice and encouraged the Duke to accept the offer, with the British ambassador in Turin promising that Britain would immediately recognize Sicilian independence once he did so.