RoyaltyThe son of Italy’s last king has died at the age of 86. “His Royal Highness Vittorio Emanuele, Duke of Savoy and Prince of Naples, passed away peacefully on Saturday morning, surrounded by his family,” the statement read. “The location and date of the funeral are not yet known.”
Vittorio Emanuele was the son of the last king of Italy, Umberto II. But in 1946, the Italian population voted against the monarchy. Umberto and his family were banished from the territory. Umberto II died in exile in Switzerland in 1983. Vittorio Emanuele thus became the new head of the family. The ban from Italy had been lifted since 2002, but Vittorio spent most of his time in Switzerland. He continued to try to regain his royal rights. In 2022, he filed another official request to get the crown jewels back.
But the head of the family was also not a blank slate. Last year he came into a negative light after the revealing documentary ‘The King Who Never Was’. The German Birgit Hamer, who won Miss Germany in 1976, talks about the murder of her younger brother Dirk by Vittorio Emanuele. After mounting frustrations, Vittorio shot around. A fatal bullet eventually hit 19-year-old Dirk, the beginning of a long ordeal. Immediately after the incident, Vittorio was arrested by the police. He signed a letter admitting that he was legally liable for Dirk’s injuries. A day before the boy finally succumbed, Vittorio was then released on bail. The prince immediately fled to Switzerland, where he remained out of reach of justice for a long time.
After thirteen years, justice seemed to finally be served. Vittorio was taken to court in France, but came prepared. His lawyer argued that a firearm had also been found on the victim’s boat, and that it was therefore not at all certain that the prince fired the fatal shot. Moreover, the letter he wrote about his guilt in the case suddenly disappeared, and the doctor who initially treated Dirk claimed that he found no evidence against Vittorio. Vittorio was ultimately convicted of illegal gun possession. He was released at the time for Dirk’s murder.
Corruption and trafficking in women
In 2006, Vittorio was imprisoned again. He was accused of extortion, corruption and trafficking in women. A hidden camera recorded how he admitted to a fellow prisoner that he was indeed guilty in Dirk’s murder case. It gave sister Birgit hope for a moment, but Vittorio again denied in full that he had made a confession. The court followed him again: the case was not reopened.
The corruption case also failed to get off the ground. Although Vittorio was kept under house arrest for a month, he was eventually acquitted.
“I held him in my arms for hours while he bled”: the true story behind ‘The King Who Never Was’ (+)
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