You Think You Have Problems? Not. The Heir To The Italian Throne; Now He Has Problems

Seems that the heir apparent to the Italian throne, Vittorio Emanuele, Head of the Royal House of Savoy, Prince of Naples and Duke of Savoy, (also heir to throne of Kingdom of Jerusalem, a crusader state which became defunct a thousand years ago), who is the eldest son of the last king of Italy, is being plagued by an annoying third cousin. This cousin, Prince Amedeo of Savoy, Duke of Aosta, began to dispute the legitimacy of Vittorio’s claim to the Italian throne a few years ago.

Prince Victor Emmanuel (Prince of Naples and Duke of Savoy), Princess Marina of Savoy and and family arrive at the funeral of Monaco’s Prince Rainier III at Monaco Cathedral on April 15, 2005 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Prince Rainier III ruled the tiny Mediterranean principality for more than 55 years, becoming Europe’s longest serving monarch. He died aged 81 on April 6 after battling heart, lung and kidney problems.

You might think this a tempest in a teapot since the Italian monarchy was abolished decades ago. Nonetheless, when you are heir to a throne, I guess you have to defend your title. Sort of like a prize fighter, except it matters to far less people.

Prince Amedeo says that when Vittorio Emanuele married a Swiss biscuit heiress in 1971, he did so without the permission of the head of the Royal House of Savoy, King Humberto II, who was Vittorio’s father. Hence, he forfeited all of his Royal titles and status.

King Humberto only reigned for two weeks. His father Victor Emanuel III, who had not covered himself in glory during his own reign, abdicated in favor of his son a few weeks before a national referendum in Italy in May of 1949 on retaining the monarchy. The monarchy was voted out by 54%.

Vittorio Emanuele says this ain’t so. In fact, he became so angry that some years ago that during a dinner in honor of the marriage of the eldest son of King Juan Carlos of Spain, Vittorio leaned over the table and punched Amedeo twice in the face.

This angered Amedeo and I think we can all certainly see why. Who wants to be punched, must less at a formal dinner with lots of other royals hanging about. Amedeo responded to being punched by proclaiming himself Duke of Savoy, the title traditionally held by the heir apparent to the Italian throne, as well as the Head of the Royal House of Savoy. You go, girl. However, there is an issue here. Vittorio holds these titles.

So Vittorio Emanuele responded by expelling Amedeo from the Royal House of Savoy for “behavior injurious to the honor of our Royal Person.” And good for him, I say, although “honor” is a tricky word for him to use since he’s had a few problems with the law. For instance, twelve years ago in France, Vittorio Emanuele was tried for murder, of which he was cleared. Admittedly, this doesn’t work in his favor but lots of people are charged with murder. So let’s look beyond this and not be petty and small about it.

Unfortunately, in 2006 the Italian Carabinieri, a paramilitary police force created by the House of Savoy, arrested Vittorio in Italy on charges of criminal association, corruption, forgery, and the operating a ring of prostitution. This was quick work on Vittorio’s part since the male members of the Royal House of Savoy were not even allowed to step foot on the soil of Italy until 2002. So he managed to allegedly commit all these crimes in four years. This is harder to overlook. In fact, its practically impossible.

So Amedeo says that he is just trying to restore the honor of the dynasty and, you know, I think most of us would sympathize with him. Still, in the great scheme of life, who cares? The only person in this entire group who seems sane is Vittorio Emanuele’s son, Filiberto of Savoy, who has become a hedge fund manager in Geneva.

Hedge fund manager and Assistant Prince Filiberto with his mother, Crown Princess Marina of Italy, Princess of Naples {1935}

[Images courtesy of Zimbio and The Royal Calendar.]

Published by

Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

Leave a Reply