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Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples
Born 12 February 1937 (1937-02-12) (age 73)
Regnal name claimed Vittorio Emanuele IV
Title(s) Prince of Naples,
Duke of Savoy
Throne(s) claimed Italy
Pretend from 18 March 1983 - present
Monarchy abolished 1946
Last monarch Umberto II
Connection with son
Royal House House of Savoy
Father Umberto II
Mother Marie-José of Belgium
Spouse Marina Ricolfi-Doria
Children Emanuele Filiberto

Vittorio Emanuele Alberto Carlo Teodoro Umberto Bonifacio Amedeo Damiano Bernardino Gennaro Maria di Savoia (born 12 February 1937), «prince of Naples»[citation needed], was the last Crown Prince of Italy and, despite publicly having renounced any claims to the defunct Italian throne, is still considered by some to be a pretender. He is commonly known in Italy as Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia. Although the titles and distinctions of the Italian royal family have not been legally recognised in Italy since 1946 he is often styled Prince of Naples out of courtesy, particularly by supporters of the former monarchy.

Vittorio Emanuele also uses the title Duke of Savoy and claims the headship of the House of Savoy. These claims are disputed by supporters of his third cousin, Amedeo, 5th Duke of Aosta. He is also a claimant to the title of King of Jerusalem. He is known to some Italian monarchists as Vittorio Emanuele IV. He has lived for most of his life in exile – following a tightly contested referendum in 1946 in which a majority of the Italian people voted for Italy to become a republic.

On several occasions he has been the centre of controversy in Italy and abroad due to a series of incidents, including remarks that were seen by some as anti-semitic. In France he was tried on a murder charge, of which he was cleared of unlawful killing but convicted of a firearms offence. More recently, Vittorio Emanuele was arrested on June 16, 2006, following an investigation started by Henry John Woodcock of the Public Prosecutor's Office in Potenza, Italy, on charges of criminal association, corruption and exploitation of prostitution.[1] A trial on these charges began in Potenza, Italy on December 21, 2009. He has been also listed among the members of the pseudo-Masonic illegal lodge called P2, accused by the magistrates to be a criminal organization.


Early life and family

Vittorio Emanuele was born 12 February 1937 in Naples to Umberto, Prince of Piedmont, who would later become the last King of Italy, and Princess Marie-José of Belgium. When Umberto II left Italy after a referendum abolishing the monarchy in 1946 (see also birth of the Italian Republic), the Savoy family lived in exile, mostly in Switzerland and Portugal. Following the separation of the exiled ex-King and ex-Queen, Prince Vittorio Emanuele lived with his mother in an estate in Merlinge, Switzerland. Vittorio Emanuele and his family currently reside in Geneva.

After an 11-year engagement, Vittorio Emanuele married Swiss biscuit heiress and world-ranked water skier Marina Ricolfi-Doria in Tehran on 7 October 1971, at the occasion of the 2,500 year celebration of Iran's monarchy.

Vittorio Emanuele has worked as a banker and an aircraft salesman, and then an arms dealer.[2]

Vittorio Emanuele has one son, Emanuele Filiberto, Prince of Venice and Piedmont, born in Geneva, 22 June 1972.


Italian Royal Family
CoA fam ITA savoia.svg

  • HRH Princess Isabella

Vittorio Emanuele and his family hold no official titles, nor do they have royal or governmental duties because Italy is now a republic. The Constitution of Italy, in Temporary Provision XIV, states that noble titles are no longer recognised in Italy. Nevertheless, their royal titles and honours are still used as courtesy titles by certain other European royals, and also by some monarchists in Italy and elsewhere.


Grand Masterships

King Umberto II, the last king of Italy, did not abdicate his position as fons honorum (or Fount of honour). When he left Italy, he purported to take 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 claimed to hold these until his death in 1983.

Duke of Savoy

On 7 July 2006 Vittorio Emanuele's kinsman and dynastic rival, Amedeo, 5th Duke of Aosta declared himself to be the head of the House of Savoy and Duke of Savoy, claiming that Vittorio Emanuele had lost his dynastic rights when he married without the permission of King Umberto II in 1971. Amedeo has received the support of the President of the Council of the Senators of the Kingdom Aldo Alessandro Mola and of Vittorio Emanuele's sister Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy.

Vittorio Emanuele and his son have applied for judicial intervention to forbid Amedeo from using the title "Duke of Savoy". An initial hearing was scheduled in the court of Arezzo, with a ruling expected by 6 June 2006.[3]

Other honours

Monarchical styles of
Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples
CoA fam ITA savoia.svg
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir

Vittorio Emanuele is a Bailiff Grand Cross of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and a Bailiff Grand Cross of Justice of the Constantinian Order of St George.

He also claims to hold 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 is the heir to the Savoy claim to the title of "King of Jerusalem".

Exile from and return to Italy

Reasons for exile

In line with certain other countries that were formerly monarchies, Italian law restricted the male line of the House of Savoy from entering Italy. This was enacted via a special constitutional "temporary disposition", in force from 1948.

Requests for return

Vittorio Emanuele lobbied the Parliament of Italy over the years in which the law prohibiting his return was in force, to be allowed to return to his homeland after 56 years in exile. In 1999, he filed a case at the European Court of Human Rights, in which the prince charged that his lengthy exile violated his human rights. In September 2001, the court decided to hold a hearing on the case at a date later to be fixed.[4]

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". Vittorio Emanuele also dropped his case at the European Court of Human Rights.[citation needed] In February 2002, Vittorio Emanuele and his son Emanuele Filiberto wrote a signed letter, published through a law firm, in which they formally expressed their loyalty to the Constitution of Italy.[5] In line with the provisions of the Italian Constitution, in temporary disposition XIV (which deals with the abolition of titles of nobility) Vittorio Emanuele renounced his title of prince.[citation needed]

Return to Italy

On 23 October 2002, the provision in the Constitution of Italy that prohibited Vittorio Emanuele's return to Italy was repealed, after he signed an agreement recognizing the Republic as the valid government of the state. Vittorio Emanuele was permitted to re-enter the country from 10 November 2002. On 23 December 2002, he made his first trip home in over half a century. On the one-day visit he, his wife and his son had a 20-minute audience with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.[6]

Upon their first visit in 2003 to Naples, where Vittorio Emanuele was born, and from where his family sailed into exile in 1946, 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, when hundreds of noisy demonstrators chanted negative slogans as they progressed through the city.[2] 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 1861 under the House of Savoy.[7]


Ethiopian Massacres at time of Birth (1937)

On the day of Vittorio Emanuele's birth, 12 February 1937, the Viceroy of Italian East Africa Rodolfo Graziani decided to celebrate the birth of the heir by handing out alms at the Palace in Addis Ababa. Graziani sat in the portico of the (built for the exiled Emperor Haile Selassie) with Ethiopian and Italian notables, when two Eritrean rebels tossed hand grenades at him. A deacon who served as an attendant for the Coptic Archbishop Kirilos was killed, and the Viceroy and several others were wounded. The Italians then launched a savage massacre in Addis Ababa in which hundreds were killed over the next week. Although the attempted assassins were later found to be Eritreans, the Italians targeted Amhara (specifically Shewan Amharas) for vengeance, and any Ethiopians who had a modern education. Many were burned alive in their homes. The fascist authorities also took the opportunity to burn the Orthodox Cathedral of St. George. A few weeks later, upon learning that the wives of the conspirators had taken refuge briefly at the Debre Libanos Monastery, the Italians went there on the feast day of St. Tekle Haimanot, the founder of the Monastery, and massacred all the monks and the pilgrims who had traveled there for the feast.

Unilateral declaration of Kingship (1969)

Vittorio Emanuele unilaterally declared himself King of Italy on 15 December 1969.[8][9] He argued that by agreeing to submit to a referendum on his place as head of state, his father (Umberto II) had thereby abdicated. Vittorio Emanuele took this action after his father allegedly called for Amedeo, 5th Duke of Aosta to visit him in Portugal to name him his heir.[10] Under his self-assumed powers as King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele conferred the title of Duchess of Sant'Anna di Valdieri on his then fiancee, Marina Doria.[11]

Killing of Dirk Hamer (1978-1989)

In the night of 17 August or the morning of 18 August 1978, on the island of Cavallo (which lies off the south coast of Corsica), Vittorio Emanuele 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 a passenger he had awakened; the shot missed the passenger but mortally wounded Dirk Hamer (the nineteen-year-old 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 28 August 1978.[12] Dirk Hamer died of his wounds on 7 December 1978, and Vittorio Emanuele was arrested.

On 11 October 1989, Vittorio Emanuele was indicted on charges of fatal wounding and offensive-weapon possession. But on 18 November 1991, after thirteen years of legal proceedings, the Paris Assize Court acquitted him of the fatal wounding and unintentional homicide charges, finding him guilty only of unauthorised possession of an M1 Garand rifle.[12] He received a six month suspended prison sentence.[13]

When incarcerated in June 2006, on unconnected charges of corruption (see below, "Arrest and imprisonment"), Vittorio Emanuele was recorded admitting that "I was in the wrong, [...] but I must say I fooled them [the French judges]",[14] leading to a call from Dirk Hamer's sister for Vittorio Emanuele to be retried in Italy for killing her brother.[15] He also described, in a phone call, the magistrates investigating him as "penniless, envious turds whose wives are probably cuckolding them while they keep track of me."[16][17]

Allegations of anti-semitism (2003)

Vittorio Emanuele also said in recent years that the anti-Semitic laws passed under Mussolini's regime were "not that terrible".[18][19] Other senior members of the House of Savoy have also in the past downplayed the significance of the anti-Jewish laws signed by Vittorio Emmanuele's grandfather[citation needed]. "I'm not saying it was he who signed the racial laws in 1938. But, as a Savoy heir, Victor Emmanuel has never distanced himself from them," the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, Amos Luzzatto, said in an interview with Il Corriere della Sera newspaper.[20]

On 27 January 2005, in a letter published by Il Corriere della Sera, Vittorio Emanuele issued an apology to Italy's Jewish leadership asking forgiveness from the Italian Jewish community, and declaring that it was an error for the Italian Royal Family to have signed the racial laws of 1938 [21].

Fight with Amedeo (2004)

On 21 May 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, Vittorio Emanuele punched his third cousin and arch-rival Amedeo of Savoy, Duke of Aosta, twice in the face.[22] Part of the background to his behaviour during this incident is the support Duke Amedeo has received from monarchists as legitimate heir to the Italian throne, since Vittorio Emanuele officially had to recognise the Italian republic as the valid government of the country in order to return to Italy[citation needed].

Arrest and imprisonment (2006)

On 16 June 2006 he was arrested in Varenna and imprisoned in Potenza on charges of corruption and recruitment of prostitutes for clients of the Casinò di Campione (casino) of Campione d'Italia.[23][24][25]

The enquiry was conducted by Italian magistrate John Woodcock, of British ancestry, famous for other VIPs' arrests.[26][27][28]

After several days, Vittorio Emanuele was released and placed under house arrest instead.[29] He was released from house arrest on 20 July 2006, but he had to stay inside the Italian borders. He is now free to leave Italy but he is still under investigation.

His son, Emanuele Filiberto, has distance himself from his father.[30]

Seeking compensation from Italy (2007)

In 2007, Vittorio Emanuele and his son Emanuele Filiberto requested formally that the State of Italy pay financial damages of 260 million Euros and initiate full restitution of all properties and belongings that had been confiscated from the royal house after the abdication. The financial damages claim is based on having suffered moral injustice during the exile. The government of Italy has rejected the request and, in response, indicated that it may seek damages for historic grievances.[31]


16. Victor Emmanuel II of Italy
8. Umberto I of Italy
17. Maria Adelaide of Austria
4. Victor Emmanuel III of Italy
18. Ferdinand, 1st Duke of Genoa
9. Margherita of Savoy
19. Princess Elizabeth of Saxony
2. Umberto II of Italy
20. Mirko Petrović Njegoš, Grand Duke of Grahovo
10. Nicholas I of Montenegro
21. Anastasija Martinović
5. Helen of Montenegro
22. Peter Vukotić
11. Milena Vukotić
23. Jelena Voivodić
1. Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples
24. Leopold I of Belgium
12. Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders
25. Louise-Marie of Orléans
6. Albert I of Belgium
26. Karl Anton, Prince of Hohenzollern
13. Princess Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
27. Princess Josephine of Baden
3. Marie-José of Belgium
28. Maximilian Joseph, Duke in Bavaria
14. Duke Karl-Theodor in Bavaria
29. Princess Ludovika of Bavaria
7. Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria
30. Miguel of Portugal
15. Infanta Maria Josepha of Portugal
31. Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg


  1. ^ Popham, Peter (2006-06-17). "Son of Italy's last king held over Mafia and prostitution claims". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-04-10. "The son of Italy's last king, Prince Victor Emmanuel, has been arrested in the north Italian town of Lecco as part of an investigation into charges he was involved with the Sicilian Mafia and a prostitution racket." 
  2. ^ a b Popham, Peter (2006-06-22). "The prince and the prostitutes". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-04-10. "Selling helicopters to his high and mighty friends was one of the prince's successful projects, from which he went on to become an arms dealer." 
  3. ^ Vincent Meylan (2008-05-21). "Duc d'Aoste ou Duc de Savoie?". Point de Vue: 79. 
  4. ^ Victor Emmanuel de Savoie v. Italy, 656 to hold a hearing on the merits of the admissible complaints on a date to be fixed subsequently (European Court of Human Rights 2001-09-21).
  5. ^ "Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia: "Fedeltà alla Costituzione"" (in Italian). La Repubblica. February 2, 2002. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  6. ^ Willan, Philip (2002-12-24). "Exiled Italian royals go home". The Guardian.,12576,865055,00.html. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  7. ^ Johnston, Bruce (2008-01-08). "Italy's exiled royal family shunned as they return". Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  8. ^ Royal Decree No. 1
  9. ^ Pro Veritate analysis n.1 by Prof. Edoardo Adami
  10. ^ Gigi Speroni, Umberto II, Milan, Riscoli Libri
  11. ^ Pro Veritate analysis n.2 by Prof. Edoardo Adami
  12. ^ a b HAMER v. FRANCE - 19953/92 [1996] ECHR 30 (7 August 1996)
  13. ^ Summary of trial proceedings concerned the killing of Dirk Hamer
  14. ^ (Italian) Vittorio Emanuele, cimici in cella "Ho fregato i giudici francesi"
  15. ^ Prince's braggadocio spurs call for justice
  16. ^ Italian royal taped boasting he got away with murder
  17. ^ Prince: I beat rap for killing
  18. ^ "Italy's Jews wait for royal apology" (The Observer (UK), 18 May 2003). "It was a rocky start for what was intended as a romantic trip down memory lane for Italy's exiled royal family, the Savoys, who returned to Rome last week to meet government officials, only to be greeted by angry Italian Jews still waiting for an apology for the royals' anti-Semitic leanings during the Second World War. Some five years ago, Victor Emmanuel made headlines when he said in an interview that the race laws were 'not so bad'".
  19. ^ The Royalist
  20. ^ "An Englishman in Auschwitz and other Holocaust articles", Tom Gross, 18 June 2003
  21. ^ Stephen Roth Institute: Antisemitism And Racism
  22. ^ Right royal punch-up at Spanish prince's wedding
  23. ^ Arrest and jail
  24. ^ Arrested Italy prince goes from palace to jail
  25. ^ The Prince and the prostitutes
  26. ^ VIP arrests by Woodstock
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ House arrest
  30. ^
  31. ^ Phil Stewart, Reuters (2007-11-21). "Fallen savoy royals seek damages over Italy exile". 

External links

This audio file was created from a revision dated 2005-05-06, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. (Audio help)
More spoken articles
Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples
Born: February 12 1937
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
King Umberto II
King of Italy
March 18, 1983 –
Reason for succession failure:
Kingdom abolished in 1946
Emanuele Filiberto


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