In Italy, a Fight for the Claim to a 'Pretend Throne'

Vittoria Cristina Chiara Adelaide Maria on track to be queen of a defunct monarchy
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2021 9:47 AM CDT
In Italy, a Fight for the Claim to a 'Pretend Throne'
King Victor Emmanuel III was the monarch of the Kingdom of Italy and abdicated on May 9, 1946. His son, Umberto II, then reigned for 34 days until Italy was declared a republic. Vittoria is Umberto's great-granddaughter, and King Victor Emmanuel III's great-great granddaughter.   (Wikimedia Commons)

"She now, is, how do you say, the future régnante" of Italy, says Clotilde Courau of her teenage daughter, who lives in Paris. If your reactions are "what?" and "what??" that's understandable. Italy, of course, has no monarchy, which was done away with in 1946 and replaced by a republic. Prior to that, Italy was a kingdom ruled by the House of Savoy, and now there's been a major shakeup in who is heir to that house. In 2019, Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia—son of Italy's last king—issued a decree that removed the restriction that only a male could be heir to the Head of the Royal House of Savoy. That meant his granddaughter, the now 17-year-old Vittoria Cristina Chiara Adelaide Maria, will be the one to "eventually lead the family and stake a claim to the defunct monarchy," reports Jason Horowitz for the New York Times.

And what that's done, per the Times, is add fuel to "an ongoing dynastic dispute between the pretenders to Italy’s pretend throne." Vittoria's cousin, Prince Aimone di Savoia Aosta, calls her claim invalid (that Aosta branch of the family argues the succession law shouldn't be changed until the monarchy is restored). As for why it even matters, one historian says it's all about money, as it's the heir to the throne who has the power to hand out noble titles—and get payments in return. "By changing the inheritance law, Vittorio Emanuele ensured his branch a future revenue stream and prestige," Horowitz writes, though Vittoria's family says it's really about more principled things, like women's empowerment. (Read the full story, which describes Vittoria's father as "an Italian television personality who claims the title Prince of Venice, which is also the name of his Los Angeles restaurant and former food truck.")

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