Prince Aimone, Duke of Aosta
|Held title||3 March 1942 –
29 January 1948
|Predecessor||Prince Amedeo, 3rd Duke|
|Successor||Prince Amedeo, 5th Duke|
|Spouse||Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark|
|Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta|
|Aimone Roberto Margherita Maria Giuseppe Torino of Savoy-Aosta|
|House||House of Savoy|
|Father||Prince Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Aosta|
|Mother||Princess Hélène of Orléans|
9 March 1900|
|Died||29 January 1948
|Burial||Basilica of Superga|
Prince Aimone of Savoy-Aosta, Duke of Aosta (given names: Aimone Roberto Margherita Maria Giuseppe Torino; 9 March 1900 – 29 January 1948) was a prince of Italy's reigning House of Savoy and an officer of the Royal Italian Navy. The second son of Prince Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Aosta he was granted the title Duke of Spoleto on 22 September 1904. He inherited the title Duke of Aosta on 3 March 1942 following the death of his brother Prince Amedeo, in a British prisoner of war camp in Nairobi.
On 18 May 1941, he was nominated by his cousin, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy to assume the kingship of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), a German puppet state in occupied Yugoslavia. He formally accepted, but refused to assume the kingship in opposition to the Italian annexation of the Dalmatia region, and is therefore referred to in some sources as king designate. Regardless, many sources refer to him as Tomislav II, King of Croatia (named after the medieval Croatian King Tomislav) and the nominal head of the NDH during its first two years (1941–1943). He resigned the throne on 31 July 1943, formally renouncing all rights to his Croatian title on 12 October 1943 a month after the Italian capitulation.
Prince Aimone Roberto Margherita Maria Giuseppe Torino of Savoy-Aosta was born in Turin the second son of Prince Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Aosta (eldest son of Prince Amedeo, 1st Duke of Aosta (and sometime "King Amadeo I of Spain") by his wife, née Vittoria dal Pozzo, Principessa della Cisterna) and Princess Hélène of Orléans (daughter of Philippe, comte de Paris and Princess Marie Isabelle of Orléans). As his patrilinal great-grandfather was King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, he is a member of the House of Savoy.
On 22 September 1904, he was given the title Duke of Spoleto for life. On 1 April 1921, Prince Aimone became a member of the Italian Senate. Princes of the House of Savoy became members of the Senate at age 21, obtaining the right to vote at age 25.
In 1929, twenty years after his uncle Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi had attempted to climb K2 in Karakorum, Prince Aimone led an expedition to Karakorum. A member of the expedition was Ardito Desio. Due to the failure to climb K2 twenty years earlier, Prince Aimone's expedition concentrated solely on scientific work.
After being romantically linked with Infanta Beatriz of Spain the daughter of King Alfonso XIII, he married on 1 July 1939 in Florence with Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark the daughter of King Constantine I and Princess Sophie of Prussia. They had one son :
On 18 May 1941, a ceremony took place at the Quirinal Palace to which Ante Pavelić, the leader of the fascist Ustaše movement that had assumed power in Croatia in April 1941 after the invasion of Yugoslavia, led a delegation of Croats requesting that Italy's King Victor Emmanuel III name a member of the House of Savoy as king of Croatia. The Independent State of Croatia was a fascist puppet state that was partly under Italian and German control, covering most of present-day states of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but its leaders tried to assert their legitimacy by instating a monarchy that would resemble the medieval Croatian state.
Aimone was then officially named King by his cousin Victor Emmanuel III. On assuming the Crown of Zvonimir he took the regnal name Tomislav II in memory of Tomislav, the first Croatian king. Originally on learning that he had been named King of Croatia he told close colleagues that he thought his nomination was a bad joke by his cousin King Victor Emmanuel III though he accepted the crown out of a sense of duty. The Italian Foreign Minister and Benito Mussolini's son in law Count Ciano's informants said of Aimone "The Duke doesn't give a damn about Croatia and wants only money, money and more money." Ciano's diary noted a conversation between Aimone and himself, where Aimone was "proud of having been chosen King of Croatia, but has no exact idea of what he is supposed to do and is vaguely uneasy about it". His full title as King was "King of Croatia, Prince of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Voivode of Dalmatia, Tuzla and Knin".
He was due to be crowned in Duvno (Tomislavgrad), in modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina, but he refused to go to Croatia due to the "Dalmatian question" which arose due to Italy taking some of Dalmatia's coastal territory. Aimone felt that Dalmatia "was a land that could never be Italianized" and was an obstacle to Italian-Croatian reconciliation. Other reasons why he never went to Croatia were because of an ongoing insurgency, and that his safety could not be guaranteed. Because of this he exercised what little power he had from Italy and Hungary, however he never held any real authority throughout his reign as the Ustaše government had deprived the monarchy of most powers and reduced the status of the king to that of a figurehead. In spite of this he did have some symbolic powers such as the ability to grant noble titles. Count Gyula István Cseszneky de Milvány et Csesznek was the counselor to the King for Croatian affairs. Prince Aimone also established a Croatian office in Rome where he received confidential reports, official documents, and military, political and economic information from Croatia. He reportedly made only one short visit to Croatia arriving in Zadar by a submarine and witnessing first hand the turmoil in the country.
Capitulation and aftermath
Following the dismissal of Mussolini on 25 July 1943, the prince abdicated on 31 July on the orders of Victor Emmanuel III. With the Italian capitulation on 8 September, he formally renounced his rights to the title on 12 October. This happened shortly after the birth of his son Amedeo (born 27 September 1943) who received Zvonimir as one of his given names.
In the late months of World War II, he became the commander of the Italian Naval Base of Taranto but he was dismissed from his post for his criticism of the judges that had found General Mario Roatta guilty. During his naval career he reached the rank of Squadron Admiral.
In 1947 following the birth of the Italian Republic the previous year, Prince Aimone left Italy for South America. He died early the next year on 29 January 1948 in his hotel room in Buenos Aires. His son Prince Amedeo succeeded him as Duke of Aosta.
- 9/3/1900-21/9/1904 His Serene Highness Prince Aimone of Savoy-Aosta
- 22/9/1904-17/5/1941 His Royal Highness The Duke of Spoleto
- 18/5/1941-30/7/1943 His Majesty Tomislav II, King of Croatia, Prince of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Voivode of Dalmatia, Tuzla and Knin
- 30/7/1943-30/1/1948 His Royal Highness The Duke of Aosta, Principe della Cisterna e di Belriguardo, Marchese di Voghera, Conte di Ponderano
Orders and decorations
|Ancestors of Prince Aimone, Duke of Aosta|
- Independent State of Croatia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia
- Yugoslavia, Holocaust Encyclopedia, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Serbia's secret war: propaganda and the deceit of history; p 94
- Rodogno, Davide; Fascism's European empire: Italian occupation during the Second World War; p.95; Cambridge University Press, 2006 ISBN 0-521-84515-7
"Devoid of political experience and ignorant of the Italian government's exact intentions, he [the Duke Aimone] refused to leave for Croatia, saying so in letters to Victor Emmanuel and Mussolini, in which he told them that the question of Dalmatia, 'a land that could never be Italianized', was an obstacle against any reconciliation with the Croats. Never, he declared, would he agree to be a king of a nation amputated from Italy." .
- Pavlowitch, Stevan K.; Hitler's new disorder: the Second World War in Yugoslavia; p.289; Columbia University Press, 2008 0-231-70050-4 
- Massock, Richard G.; Italy from Within; p.306; READ BOOKS, 2007 ISBN 1-4067-2097-6 
- Burgwyn, H. James; Empire on the Adriatic: Mussolini's conquest of Yugoslavia 1941-1943; p.39; Enigma, 2005 ISBN 1-929631-35-9
- Royal Institute of International Affairs; Enemy Countries, Axis-Controlled Europe; Kraus International Publications, 1945 ISBN 3-601-00016-4 
- Rezun, Miron (30 May 1995). Europe and war in the Balkans: toward a new Yugoslav identity. Greenwood Press. p. 62. ISBN 027595238X. "The duke agreed to accept the throne and became King Tomislav II of Croatia"
- Friedman, Francine (22 January 2004). Bosnia and Herzegovina: a polity on the brink. Routledge. p. 130. ISBN 0415274354. "...nominally Croatia was ruled by the Italian Duke of Spoleto styled as King Tomislav II..."
- Dedijer, Vladimir (1979). History of Yugoslavia. p. 573. "...The new king was given the title of Tomislav II..."
- Romano, Sergio (1 March 1999). An outline of European history from 1789 to 1989. Berghahn Books. p. 130. ISBN 1571810765. "...the Duke of Spoleto, became king, with the name of Tomislav II..."
- Salmaggi, Cesare; Pallavisini, Alfredo (1 May 1984). 2194 days of war. E Mayflower Books. p. 149. ISBN 0831789417. "...Croatia is constituted an independent nation under Tomislav II..."
- "Duke gives up puppet throne". St. Petersburg Times. 21 August 1943. p. 10.
- Lemkin, Raphael; Power, Samantha (2005). Axis Rule In Occupied Europe: Laws Of Occupation, Analysis Of Government, Proposals For Redress. Lawbook Exchange. p. 253. ISBN 1584775769.
- "Foreign News: Hotel Balkania". Time Magazine. 9 August 1943. Retrieved 4 December 2009.
- Sainty, Guy Stair. "Royal House of Italy". European royal houses.
- The Peerage
- "Prince is Italian Senator". New York Times. 2 April 1921. p. 10.
- K2 - The Savage Mountain
- K2 2004 - 50 years later
- "Milestones". Time Magazine. April 21, 1930.
- Packard, Reynolds (2005). Balcony Empire: Fascist Italy at War. Kessinger Publishing. p. 190. ISBN 1417985283.
- Petacco, Arrigo (2005). A Tragedy Revealed: The Story of the Italian Population of Istria, Dalmatia, and Venezia Giulia. University of Toronto Press. pp. 26, 27. ISBN 0802039219.
- Tomasevich, Jozo (2001). War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: Occupation and Collaboration. Stanford University Press. p. 138. ISBN 0804736154.
- Ciano, Galeazzo (1947). Ciano's diary, 1939-1943. p. 343.
- Rodogno, Davide (2006). Fascism's European Empire: Italian Occupation During the Second World War. Cambridge University Press. p. 95. ISBN 0521845157.
- Balkan royalty
- Avramov, Smilja (1995). Genocide in Yugoslavia. p. 238.
- Chantal de Badts de Cugnac & Guy Coutant de Saisseval. Petit Gotha (2002), Paris. Page 614
- Online Gotha
- "A Duke Departs". Time Magazine. April 23, 1945.
- "Obituaries". Keesing's Record of World Events. April 1948. p. 9212.
- "Death of Duke of Aosta". Canberra Times. 31 January 1948. p. 1.
- Enache, Nicolas. La Descendance de Marie-Therese de Habsburg. ICC, Paris, 1996. pp. 206, 214. French.
Media related to Tomislav II of Croatia, 4th Duke of Aosta at Wikimedia Commons
Prince Aimone, Duke of AostaBorn: 9 March 1900 Died: 29 January 1948
|King of Croatia
18 May 1941–31 July 1943
|Duke of Aosta
3 March 1942–29 January 1948