Sunday, 8 May 2011

9th May 1946:
Accession of King Umberto II of Italy

Today 65 years ago King Umberto II ascended to the Italian throne. He succeeded his father, King Vittorio Emanuele who had abdicated in his favour.

The Italian cabinet approved Crown Prince Umberto's assumption of the throne on 10th May 1946, and it decided that King Umberto could approve decrees "up until the referendum date". He was able to sign as Umberto II, King of Italy, but the Cabinet ordered the elimination of the phrase "By the grace of God and the will of people." Right from the beginning of his reign the socialists ridiculed King Umberto as the King of May.

Nevertheless King Umberto appeared eight times on the palace balcony to acknowledge the acclaim of an estimated 10,000 cheering Romans

The referendum on the Italian Monarchy was held on 2nd and 3rd June 1946. For details see Wikipedia.

Although the official result that declared a republican victory has been highly doubtful, King Umberto decided to leave the country to avoid civil war. He settled in Cascais, Portugal. The republican constitution not only exiled King Umberto but forbade all male members of the House of Savoy from setting foot in Italy thereafter. This harsh order condemned the exiled King to die abroad.

King Umberto lived 37 of his 79 years in exile. He is buried in the Abbey of Hautecombe, France, which was founded by the Savoys. Thousands of Italians paid their last respect to their King. The only official Italian representative was the Italian consul from Lyon.


MadMonarchist said...

I'll be putting something up on the 'King of May' tomorrow. This unfortunate monarch's case is one of the blatantly hypocritical I have ever seen, it infuriates me to no end. They abolish the monarchy, kick the Savoys out of Italy and all because of Mussolini (we are told) and yet, the family of Mussolini himself doesn't even suffer such consequences! I'm not saying they should have of course but the idea that anyone can view the Savoys being treated in such a way astounds me.

Nuno Castelo-Branco said...

MadMonarchist, the USA had some intervention pro-republic. The NYC port mafia was very effective.

David Votoupal said...

I agree that what was metered out to the Savoys was grossly unfair in light of the fact that Mussolini's descendants not only remained in Italy but even remained politically active.

But even for monarchists, the Savoys arouse mixed feelings because of the way Italian Unification had been achieved and what eventuated. This is especially acute regarding the Two Sicilies and the feelings of southerners today.