Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta (b. 1943)
Prince Amedeo of Savoy, Duke of Aosta, (given names: Amedeo Umberto Costantino Giorgio Paolo Elena Maria Fiorenzo Zvonimir; born 27 September 1943) is a claimant to the headship of the House of Savoy, the family which ruled Italy from 1861 to 1946. Until 7 July 2006 Amedeo was styled Duke of Aosta; on that date he declared himself Duke of Savoy.
Birth and early life
Only three weeks before Amedeo's birth, Italy had surrendered to the Allies. Italy's former ally, Germany, thereupon launched a military operation to occupy Italy. The infant Amedeo was arrested by the Nazis along with his mother, aunt, and two cousins, and sent to an internment camp in Austria.
Marriage and family
On 22 July 1964 Amedeo married Princess Claude of Orléans (born 11 December 1943) in Sintra, Portugal. She was the ninth child and fifth daughter of Henri, comte de Paris, Orléanist claimant to the French throne, and of Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza. Amedeo and Claude have three children:
- Princess Bianca Irene Olga Elena Isabella Fiorenza Maria of Savoy (b. Florence, 2 April 1966) married Giberto Carbonello Tiberto Maria, Count Arrivabene-Valenti-Gonzaga at San Giustino Valdarno, Tuscany, on 11 September 1988 and had issue:
- Viola Moreschina Nuschi Adec Nicoletta Maria Arrivabene-Valenti-Gonzaga (b. Rome, 31 May 1991)
- Vera Clementina Verde Aimone Elena Maria Arrivabene-Valenti-Gonzaga (b. Samedan, 18 August 1993)
- Mafalda Violante Giovanna Olga Maria Arrivabene-Valenti-Gonzaga (b. Conegliano Veneto, 27 December 1997)
- Maddalena Smeralda Brandolina Maria Arrivabene-Valenti-Gonzaga (b. Conegliano Veneto, 24 April 2000)
- Leonardo Amedeo Moreschino Sai Maria Arrivabene-Valenti-Gonzaga (b. Conegliano Veneto, 5 October 2001)
- Prince Aimone, Duke of Apulia (b. Florence, 13 October 1967); Aimone married in a civil ceremony on 16 September 2008, Princess Olga of Greece, daughter of Prince Michael of Greece and Denmark. The religious marriage took place on 27 September 2008 at Patmos.
- Princess Mafalda Giovanna Shams Maria Fiorenza Isabella of Savoy (b. Florence, 20 September 1969) married firstly at San Giustino Valdarno, 18 September 1994 Don Alessandro Ruffo di Calabria-Santapau dei principi di Palazzolo (b. Turin, 4 November 1964, a nephew of Queen Paola of Belgium), divorced without issue; Mafalda married secondly London 27 April 1998 Nobile Francesco Ferrante Carlo Napoleone, 10th Baron Lombardo di San Chirico (b. Milan 31 January 1968) and had issue:
On 30 March 1987 Amedeo married Silvia Paternò di Spedalotto (b. 31 December 1953) in the chapel of Villa Spedalotto in Bagheria, Sicily. She is the daughter of Don Vincenzo Paternò di Spedalotto, Marchese di Reggiovanni, and of Rosanna Bellardo Ferrari. Amedeo and Silvia have no children.
Amedeo has an illegitimate daughter by Kyara van Ellinkhuizen: Ginevra van Ellinkhuizen (born Milan, 19 March 2006), who was born with Down syndrome. Though before her birth Amedeo had stated that he would immediately recognize her as his child and provide for her welfare, he did not do so and instead firstly asked for DNA testing to be performed in order to assure the filiation, which was done. On 4 August 2006, he legally recognized his daughter, but did not provide for her welfare until ordered to do so by a judge. The attendant scandal diminished the stature of the House of Savoy and may have further eroded support for the claim of the Aosta branch among monarchists.
Amedeo and his wife Silvia live in the village of San Rocco near the town of Castiglion Fibocchi in Tuscany (about 15 kilometres northwest of Arezzo). He is involved in various agricultural activities including the production of wine marketed under the name Vini Savoia Aosta.
Since 1997 Amedeo has been president of the International Foundation Pro Herbario Mediterraneo. From 2003 to 2006 he was president of the committee responsible for the nature reserve on the island of Vivara.
Always close to the head of the Savoy dynasty, ex-King Umberto II, Amedeo was long-viewed by Italian royalists as a likely claimant to the throne if Umberto's own son failed to live up to monarchist expectations. On 7 July 2006 Amedeo declared himself to be the head of the House of Savoy and Duke of Savoy, claiming that his third cousin Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples had lost his dynastic rights when he married, just following the time of his arrest, without previously obtaining the permission of his father, former King Umberto II in 1971, authorization which had been required under monarchical law. Vittorio Emanuele and his son, Emanuele Filiberto, Prince of Venice, sought judicial intervention to forbid Amedeo's use of the title "Duke of Savoy". An initial hearing was scheduled in the court of Arezzo, with a ruling expected by 6 June 2008. The President of the Council of the Senators of the Kingdom, Aldo Alessandro Mola, published a declaration in favour of Amedeo's claim; in fact only nine members of the 62 member council voted in support of the declaration. Amedeo's claim has also received the support of Vittorio Emanuele's sister, Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy.
Although many monarchists transferred their allegiance to Prince Amedeo at some point after King Umberto's death, Aosta has been criticized by other Italian royalists who continue to support Prince Vittorio Emanuele. Sergio Pellecchi, President of the Giunta of the Chivalric Orders of the House of Savoy, has stated that the Council of the Senators of the Kingdom was dissolved in 2002 and that it never had any authority in matters of the succession. Eugenio Armando Dondero, spokesman for the Coordinamento Monarchico Italiano, has asked why Amedeo did not claim to be head of the House of Savoy in 1983 when Umberto II died. But others, including constitutional jurist Guido Locatello, declared the marriage of Vittorio Emanuele to be in violation of Savoy dynastic law years before scandal evoked any clamor for Amedeo to replace him. The Unione Monarchica Italiana published in its newsletter, Monarchia Nuova, on 12 February 1987 that the Prince of Naples' marriage to Marina Doria violated the decree of Victor Amadeus III, issued 13 September 1780, regulating the marriages of princes of the blood royal, compelling the Unione to recognise Amedeo as rightful head of the royal house—although at that time Aosta had put forth no public dynastic claim.
On 21 May 2004, at a soirée held at the Zarzuela Palace near Madrid during the wedding celebrations of the Spanish royal heir apparent, Felipe, Prince of Asturias, Amedeo approached Vittorio Emanuele who reportedly punched him twice in the face, causing him to stumble backward down the steps. The swift intervention of another guest, former Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, who propped him up, prevented Amedeo from falling to the ground. She helped him move indoors and stanched his bleeding facial wound until first aid was administered. Upon learning of the incident Spain's King Juan Carlos I, a cousin of both men, reportedly declared that "never again" would an opportunity to abuse his hospitality be afforded the rivals.
Amedeo is a Knight of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation named by Umberto II, a Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, and a Knight of Honor and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem. He is an honorary citizen of the towns of Marigliano, Pantelleria, and Abetone.
- Enache, Nicolas (1999). La Descendance de Marie-Therese de Habsburg, Reine de Hongrie et de Boheme. Paris: L'Intermediaire des Chercheurs et Curieux (ICC). pp. 204–206, 213–214. ISBN 2-908003-04-X.
- Unione Monarchica Italian - Nascita Reale
- Lombardo di San Chirico
- Amedeo padre di Ginevra. Lo dice il Dna
- McIntosh, David (2005 12). "The Sad Demise of the House of Savoy". European Royal History Journal (Eurohistory) 8.6 (XLVIII): 3–6.
- de Montjouvent, Philippe. Le Comte de Paris et sa Descendance. Editions du Chaney, 1998, Charenton, France. pp. 343-346. French. ISBN 2-913211-00-3.
- Vincent Meylan (2008-05-21). "Duc d'Aoste ou Duc de Savoie?". Point de Vue: 79.
Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta (b. 1943)Born: 27 September 1943
|Duke of Aosta
1948 – present
|Titles in pretence|
|— TITULAR —
King of Italy
1983 – present
Reason for succession failure:
Kingdom abolished in 1946