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Does Italy Have A King Today Or Did It Ever Have One?

Does Italy have a King? The history of the past Kings of Italy continues today even though Italy is a Republic and no longer is concerned with a royal family.

Does Italy have a king - Republic Emperor

Equestrian Statue (copy) of Marcus Aurelius

Currently, Italy is a Republic and not a Monarchy, so it does not have a King or any other type of Italian Royal Family to be concerned with. Italian Monarchy does have a long history, not as a single country, but as a collection of city-states which included members of the Houses of Bonaparte, Hapsburg, Luxembourg and ultimately Savoy. There were also Crowned Republics in Venice and Genoa where a Doge was elected as the head of state.

The Pope was also one of the most important and powerful secular leaders, as well as being the head of the church. The Papal States covered most of the modern Italian regions of Lazio (which includes Rome), Marche, Umbria and Romagna, and portions of Emilia. By 1861, much of the Papal States’ territory had been conquered by the Kingdom of Italy. Only Lazio, including Rome, remained under the pope’s control. In 1929 Mussolini and the Holy See signed The Lateran Treaty, which created a sovereign international entity known as Vatican City.

Who Was The First King Of Italy?

Does Italy have a king - Italian Monarchy

Equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele II

Giuseppe Garibaldi started his campaign to unify Italy with the promise that Italy would become a Republic, but this would not happen until the Italian Constitution of 1946. The Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia became the model for the new unified Kingdom of Italy in 1861 and the Italian Monarchy, led by The House of Savory was created.

The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies

The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies spanned the regions of the Italian peninsula south of the Papal states and the island of Sicily. It is called Two Sicilies because it was formed when the Kingdom of Sicily merged with the Kingdom of Naples, which were both named Sicily. King Francis II was the last of the Bourbon kings, following the overthrow by Garibaldi, and was then replaced by Victor Emmanuel II of Piedmont-Sardinia as part of the Italian unification.

When Did The Italian Monarchy End?

As the Allies and the Resistance chased the Fascists out of Italy, it became apparent that Victor Emmanuel was too closely aligned to Mussolini to continue in his role. On 12 June 1946, the Kingdom of Italy formally came to an end and all royal powers were transferred to the Prime Minister. It’s important to remember that the Italian constitution contains a clause stripping the Savoy family of their wealth in exile. 

Does Italy Have A Royal Family?

The House of Savoy has no role in modern Italy, but don’t let that take away their sense of self-importance and entitlement. In 2007, lawyers representing the House of Savoy wrote to the Italian President seeking “damages” for their years in exile. The Italian prime minister’s office released a statement stating that the Savoys are not owed any damages and suggesting that Italy may demand damages from the Savoys for their collusion with Benito Mussolini.

So-Called Italian Royal Family Today

In 2019, in a meaningless decree Vittorio Emanuele amended medieval law making his then 16 year old granddaughter heir to the nonexistent throne. Other factions within the Savoia clan take exception to this and consider it “illegitimate”! My favorite part of this story is that the young Vittoria di Savoia is a budding “influencer” currently with almost 70k followers on Instagram!

Then, in 2022, the family formally declared ownership and began the legal process to get the Bank of Italy to return the crown jewels. The jewels were deposited in the bank by a representative of the family on June 5, 1946 and today the family now argues that it has a right to ownership. The government disagrees and instead, they sent a letter outlining that according to Provision XIII of the Italian constitution, which imposes the confiscation of the royal family’s assets, the jewels and all other properties of the ex-royal family belong to the state.

does Italy have a king - Italian Monarchy Burial Site

Burial Site of Two Previous Kings

Who Is Buried In The Pantheon?

There are two previous kings of Italy buried in the Pantheon, Vittorio Emanuele II, and his son Umberto I, who was described by a modern historian as “a colorless and physically unimpressive man of limited intellect”. Umberto also notably married his cousin, Margherita, of pizza margherita fame. Although the intention was to make this the burial sight for the Monarchs of the House of Savoy, following the abolition of the Monarchy, no more former Kings were buried there.

More About The Italian System Of Government

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