Italy’s last crown prince, Victor Emanuel of Savoy, the son of the last Italian king Umberto II and Belgian princess Marie José, has died. He would have turned 87 years old on February 12.
Victor Emmanuel of Savoy was surrounded by his family at his death, the House of Savoy says.
When the Italian monarchy was abolished in 1946, male members of the royal family were banned from entering the country. The Italian parliament only lifted the ban in 2002. Umberto II’s son, Victor Emanuel, and his son Emanuel Filibert, spent their exile mainly in Switzerland. They gave up their claim to the Italian throne.
Belgian Princess Marie José, the last queen of Italy, was the sister of Belgian King Leopold III and the daughter of King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth. Victor Emanuel of Savoy was therefore a grandson of the Belgian King Albert I and a cousin of King Albert II.
After the Second World War in 1946, Umberto II was king for only more than a month until the Italians voted in a referendum to abolish the monarchy, after which Umberto had to leave the country. There was discussion for years about whether the referendum was fair, but that criticism died down.
Prince Victor Emanuel of Savoy was not a blameless figure. For example, he was arrested in Italy in 2006 on suspicion of corruption and exploiting prostitution.