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Filiberto grew up as an exile from Italy, in accordance with the provision of the Italian constitution prohibiting the male issue of the Savoy kings of Italy from entering or staying on Italian territory. Since returning to Italy he has made many appearances on national television, including his participation as a contestant in Ballando con le stelle (the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars), and the Sanremo Music Festival.
Emanuele Filiberto Umberto Reza Ciro René Maria di Savoia was born in Geneva, Switzerland, the only child of Vittorio Emanuele, head of the House of Savoy, and his wife, the former Marina Doria, a Swiss water ski champion.
On 10 November 2002, he accompanied his father and mother to Italy, following revocation of the provision in the Italian constitution that forbade the male Savoy descendants of kings of Italy from setting foot in the country. On the three-day trip, he accompanied his parents on a visit to the Vatican for a 20-minute audience with Pope John Paul II.
Filiberto is, by strict primogeniture in the male-line, the heir apparent of the House of Savoy, Italy's former ruling dynasty. In June 2006 his distant cousin Amedeo, 5th Duke of Aosta, declared himself to be head of the house and rightful Duke of Savoy, maintaining that Vittorio Emanuele had forfeited his dynastic rights when he married Emanuele Filiberto's mother, Marina Ricolfi Doria, in 1971 without the legally required permission of his father and sovereign-in-exile, Umberto II. Emanuele Filiberto and his father applied for judicial intervention to forbid Amedeo from using the title "Duke of Savoy"; the court of Arezzo ruled in February 2010 that the Duke of Aosta and his son must pay damages totalling 50,000 euros to their cousins and cease using the arms of the Royal House, the arms of the Prince of Piedmont, and the name "di Savoia". The Duke of Aosta appealed the ruling.