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Crown Prince Vittorio Emanuele, Vittorio Emanuele Alberto Carlo Teodoro Umberto Bonifacio Amadeo Damiano Bernardino Gennaro Maria of Savoy (born February 12, 1937) was the last crown prince of the Kingdom of Italy and is considered to be the pretender to the defunct throne.
|Pretender: Vittorio Emanuele|
|Born ||February 12 1937|
|Regnal name claimed ||Vittorio Emanuele IV|
|Title(s) if any ||Prince of Naples|
|Throne claimed ||Italy|
|Monarchy abolished ||1946|
|Last monarch ||Umberto II|
|Connection with ||son|
|Royal House ||House of Savoy|
The Prince of Naples and Duke of Savoy is current head of the House of Savoy. He is known to Italian monarchists as Vittorio Emanuele IV. He has lived for most of his life in exile - following the referendum in 1946 that made Italy a republic. He has been widely criticised in Italy and abroad because of a series of blunders, remarks seen as anti-semitic and a murder charge.
Victor Emmanuel was arrested on June 16, 2006, following an investigation started by Henry John Woodcock of the Public Prosecutor's Office in Potenza , on charges of criminal association, corruption and exploitation of prostitution.
Early life and family
Victor Emmanuel was born February 12, 1937 in Naples to Umberto, Prince of Piedmont, later the last King of Italy, and Princess Marie-José of Belgium. When Umberto II left Italy after a referendum ending the monarchy in 1946, the Royal Family of Savoy lived in exile, mostly in Switzerland and Portugal. Following the separation of the exiled King and Queen, Prince Vittorio Emmanuele lived with the exiled Queen in an estate in Merlinge, Switzerland. Victor Emmanuel and his family currently reside in Geneva, where the office of the Head of the House of Savoy is situated.
After an 11-year engagement, Victor Emmanuel, then a banker and helicopter salesman, married Swiss biscuit heiress Marina Doria in Tehran on October 7, 1971. A gold-medal-winning trick-ski champion, Doria—daughter of René Ricolfi Doria and Iris Benvenuti—had also been a star attraction at the Florida amusement park Cypress Gardens in the 1950s, highlights that did not endear the groom's father to the marriage; the exiled king refused to attend.
Victor Emmanuel has one son, Emanuele Filiberto, Prince of Venice and Piedmont, born in Geneva, June 22, 1972. Emanuele Filiberto is the heir-apparent of the House of Savoy. He was married to Clotilde Courau, a French actress, on September 25, 2003.
Victor Emmanuel holds no official Italian royal duties because Italy is now a republic.
King Umberto II, the last king of Italy, however, did not abdicate his position as fons honorum (or fount of honours). Indeed, when he left Italy, he took the hereditary Grand Masterships of the dynastic orders of his royal house with him. These orders were Ordine Supremo della SS. Annunziata (The Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation) and Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro (The Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus). Umberto II held these unto his death in 1983.
As Umberto II's heir, Victor Emmanuel succeeded his father as the Grand Master of these dynastic orders when the exiled king died in 1983. Because of this, he is involved in the ceremonies and activities associated with these orders.
Return to Italy
As with some other former monarchies, Italian laws restricted a living monarch, as well as their descendants, from entering their homeland. The royal family of Italy had been banned by a special constitutional "temporary disposition" prohibiting any male member of the House of Savoy from entering Italy after 1948. This was because King Victor Emmanuel III appointed fascist leader Benito Mussolini as prime minister and kept him in power despite clear evidence of Mussolini's associations with the murder of rivals.
Victor Emmanuel had been lobbying the Parliament of Italy for years to be allowed to return to his homeland after 56 years in exile. He even filed a case at the European Court of Human Rights, in which the prince charged that his lengthy exile violated his rights.
In order to achieve a return to his homeland, he renounced any claim to the throne and to Italy's crown jewels. He publicly assured the Italian government that the nation and the crown properties, confiscated by the State in 1946, "are no longer ours", referring to the House of Savoy. "For that matter we have no claim on the Crown jewels", he said. "We have nothing in Italy and we are not asking for anything." Victor Emmanuel also dropped his case at the European Court of Human Rights.
On October 23, 2002, the provision in the Constitution of Italy that barred the male descendants of the House of Savoy from setting foot in the Italian Republic was abolished, permitting Victor Emmanuel to re-enter the country after November 10 of that year. On his first trip home in over half a century, he, his wife and his son had a 20-minute audience with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
The visit lasted just three days. Victor Emmanuel spoke of experiencing "indescribable emotion" upon visiting his homeland for the first time since he was nine years old. The reception of the Savoys was mixed; most people were indifferent to them, some hostile, few supportive. The media reported that many in Naples were not happy to see the return of the family. In Naples, where Victor Emmanuel was born, and from where his family sailed into exile in 1946, noisy demonstrations were staged by two traditionally opposing factions: anti-monarchists on one hand, and supporters of the Bourbon Kings of the Two Sicilies, whose family was deposed when Italy was united in 1871 under the House of Savoy.
He is Bailiff Grand Cross of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and Bailiff Grand Cross of Justice of the Constantinian Order of St George.
He also holds several Russian dynastic orders, including the Order of Saint Andrew, Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky, the Order of the White Eagle, and the Order of Saint Anne. He is also a Knight of the Order of the Redeemer of Greece, and the Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa. He also claims the title of "King of Jerusalem"; this title is also claimed by King Juan Carlos I of Spain.
Victor Emmanuel's impulsive personality has resulted in a number of controversies, which have reportedly done little to increase the popularity of the family.
On the night of August 17 or the subsequent morning of August 18, 1978, on the island of Cavallo, which lies off the south coast of Corsica, Victor Emmanuel discovered his yacht's rubber dinghy had been taken and attached to another nearby yacht. Arming himself with a rifle, he attempted to board the yacht. He shot at and missed a passenger he had awakened, but hit Dirk Hamer (the son of Ryke Geerd Hamer), a passenger sleeping on the deck of another adjacent yacht. The prince admitted civil liability for the death in a letter dated August 28, 1978. Mr. Hamer died of his wounds on December 7, 1978, and Victor Emmanuel was arrested. On October 11, 1989, he was indicted on charges of fatal wounding and offensive weapons possession, but on November 18, 1991 the Paris Assize Court acquitted him of the fatal wounding and unintentional homicide charges, finding him guilty only of unauthorized possession of a US30MI rifle.
On May 21, 2004, following a dinner held by King Juan Carlos I of Spain on the eve of the wedding of his son Felipe, Prince of Asturias, Victor Emmanuel punched his cousin and arch-rival Amadeo of Savoy, duke of Aosta, twice in the face. Part of the background to his behaviour during this incident is the support Duke Amadeo has received from monarchists as legitimate heir to the Italian throne, since Victor Emmanuel officially had to renounce his claim to it in order to return to Italy.
Victor Emmanuel also said in recent years that the anti-Semitic laws passed under Mussolini's regime were "not that terrible". This is in line with previous statements of the senior member of the Savoys, who had downplayed the significance of the anti-Jewish laws signed by his grandfather. He eventually issued an apology to Italy's Jewish leadership for his remarks. However, since these remarks came just before the parliament had to vote about the possibility of letting the Savoys come back to Italy, he immediately built himself the reputation of being somewhat "un-savvy".
His name, moreover, has been found on the list of Licio Gelli's "Propaganda Due" Freemasonic lodge. His membership in this outlawed right-wing Masonic lodge has also tarnished his reputation, as has his involvement in arms dealing on behalf of the Shah of Iran (Victor Emmanuel held his wedding in Tehran, and his son Emanuele Filiberto also bears the name Reza, supposedly a reference to Reza Pahlavi).
Victor Emmanuel's reputation has never recovered from these controversies, particularly the murder charge and his anti-Semitic remarks. He is often seen as an embittered, spoilt man dogged by his tendencies toward social gaffes. It is believed that his ill reception in his native land was in part due to his reputation abroad.
On June 16, 2006 he was arrested in Varenna and imprisoned in Potenza on charges of corruption and exploitation of prostitution connected with the gambling house of Campione d'Italia. .
The enquiry is held by Italian magistrate John Woodcock, of British ancestry, famous for other VIPs' arrests .
His son Emmanuel Filiberto dismissed the charges as "yet another publicity stunt" and said, "I hope (the prosecutor) is sure of his charges, or it will be the last time he does anything." He complained that his father was treated "like a bandit."