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Prince Fulco Ruffo di Calabria
6th Duke of Guardia Lombarda
Spouse Countess Luisa Gazelli di Rossana e di Sebastiano
Issue
Princess Maria Cristina
Princess Laura
Prince Fabrizio, 7th Duke of Guardia Lombarda
Prince Augusto
Princess Giovannella
Princess Antonello
Princess Paola, Queen of the Belgains
Father Don Beniamino Ruffo di Calabria, 5th Duke of Guardia Lombarda
Mother Laura Mosselmann du Chenoy
Born 12 August 1884(1884-08-12)
Naples, Kingdom of Italy
Died 23 August 1946 (aged 62)
Marina di Massa, Italy

Fulco VIII, Prince Ruffo di Calabria (Naples 12 August 1884 - Ronchi di Apuana 23 August 1946) was an Italian World War I flying ace, and posthumous father-in-law of King Albert II of the Belgians.

Contents

Biography

The Ruffo family belonged to the Italian nobility at least since the 11th century, served as Neapolitan grand marshals and Sicilian viceroys of Calabria, and received several titles of duke and prince from the kings of Naples and of Sicily,[1] including Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo. Don Fulco was the son of Don Beniamino Tristano Ruffo di Calabria, 5th Duke of Guardia Lombarda (Genua 9-7-1848 - Naples 28-4-1901, who himself was the younger brother of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria-Santapau, 10th Principe di Scilla, 2nd Duque di Santa Cristina, etc.), and Laura Mosselmann du Chenoy, a Belgian noblewoman, whose maternal grandfather was Jacques André Coghen, the second finance minister of Belgium (1831–1832).[2]

Don Fulco was made, by decree of 15-3-1928, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, in the Kingdom of Italy. By inheritance he was also the 6th Duke of Guardia Lombarda and 17th Count of Sinopoli.[2] The family Ruffo di Calabria are one of the most ancient linages of Italy. The first ancestor proved of this House is Giordano who was grand marechal of the Royaume of Sicilia at the beginning of the year 1200. The Ruffo's were divided in two branches after the XIV century: the Ruffo princes of the Scaletta and the Ruffo di Calabria, to this branch belongs the prince Fulco. His grandson Fulco, the current head of the family bears the titles of Prince of Scilla, Prince of Palazzolo, Patrician of Naples, Duke of Guardia Lombarda, Count of Sinopoli, Marquis of Licodia, Count of Nicotera and Baron of Calanna and of Crispano.

World War I Service

He joined the 11th Foggia Light Cavalry Regiment when aged 20, and went on to serve in Africa. In 1914, he transferred to the Italian Air Service, as a fighter pilot. His personal emblem was a black skull and crossbones painted on the fuselage of his plane.[3][4] He flew Nieuport 11, Nieuport 17, and SPAD VII airplanes.[5] He shot down twenty enemy airplanes, making him the fifth highest scoring Italian flying ace of World War I . After the death of Francesco Baracca in June 1918, Fulco assumed command of the 91a Squadriglia, the renowned 'Squadron of Aces'. He relinquished command of 91a Squadriglia, after suffering a nervous breakdown. After recovering, he was handed command of 10th Gruppo, on 23 October 1918, but was shot down by artillery fire within a week near Marano.

Awards

Di Calabria was awarded:

  • Cavaliere Dell'Ordine Militare di Savoia ‑ R.D. 10 September1918
  • Medaglia d'Argento al Valor Militare ‑ D.L. 15 March 1917
  • Medaglia d'Argento al Valor Militare Conferitagli sul Campo e sanzionata con D.L. 20 gennaio 1918
  • Medaglia di Bronzo al Valor Militare ‑ D.L. 15 October 1916
  • Medaglia di Bronzo al Valor Militare ‑ D.L. 24 May 1917
  • Medaglia di Bronzo al Valor Militare - D.L. 10 June 1917.
  • Medaglia di Bronzo al Valor Militare ‑ D.L. 16 June 1917
  • Medaglia d'Oro al Valor Militare ‑ D.L. 5 May 1918

He also served as a senator.[2]

Family

On 30 June 1919 he married, in Turin, Countess Luisa Gazelli di Rossana e di Sebastiano (1896-1989), daughter of Augusto Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana, and of Maria Rignon dei Conti Rignon. Luisa served as a lady-in-waiting at the Italian court.[2]

They had seven children:[2]

  • Donna Maria Cristina, Princess Ruffo di Calabria (1920 – 2003), married Casimiro San Martino, Marquis di San Germano in 1940
  • Donna Laura, Princess Ruffo di Calabria (1921 – 1972), married Bettino, Baron Ricasoli Firidolfi in 1946
  • Don Fabrizio, Prince Ruffo di Calabria-Santapau (1922 – 2005), 13th Prince of Palazzolo, 14th Prince of Scilla, 7th Duke of Guardia Lombarda, 13th Marquis of Scilla and 18th Count of Sinopoli who, by his first marriage to Maria Vaciago, had:
    • Don Fulco, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, born 29 July 1954, current head of the House of Ruffo Calabria
    • Don Augusto, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, born 1 October 1955, married Princess Christiana of Windisch-Graetz in 1980
    • Donna Imara, Princess Ruffo di Calabria, born 7 July 1958, married 2ndly Count Marco Tonci Ottieri della Ciaia in 1993
    • Don Umberto, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, born 23 October 1960, married Marchesa Leontina Pallavicino in 1987
    • Don Alessandro, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, born 4 November 1964, married HRH Princess Mafalda of Savoy in 1994, divorced without children 2000
  • Don Augusto, Prince Ruffo di Calabria (1925 – 1943), killed in battle at sea on 2 November near Pescara
  • Donna Giovannella, Princess Ruffo di Calabria (1927 – 1941)
  • Don Antonello, Prince Ruffo di Calabria (born 1930), married to Rosa Maria Mastrogiovanni Tasca in 1961
  • Donna Paola, Princess Ruffo di Calabria (born 1937), Queen consort of the Belgians, married to King Albert II of Belgium (then Prince of Liege) in 1959.

References

  1. ^ (in German) Genealogisches Handbuch Der Fürstlichen Häuser, Band XVI. Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels. Limburg an der Lahn: C.A. Starke. 2001. pp. pages 522-5297. ISBN 3-7980-0824-8. 
  2. ^ a b c d e (in German) Genealogisches Handbuch Der Fürstlichen Häuser, Band XVI. Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels. Limburg an der Lahn: C.A. Starke. 2001. pp. pages 522-527. ISBN 3-7980-0824-8. 
  3. ^ SPAD VII dell'asso Fulco Ruffo di Calabria, Museo Storico di Vigna di Valle - Bracciano (Roma)
  4. ^ Fulco Ruffo di Calabria, nonno
  5. ^ Fulco Ruffo di Calabria, theaerodrome

External links

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