Son of Italy’s Last King, Prince Vittorio Emanuele, Passes Away at 86

Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy, the only son of Italy's last king, Umberto II, passed away peacefully on February 3rd, 2024, at his home in Geneva, Switzerland. He was 86 years old.

Born in Naples in 1937, Prince Vittorio Emanuele lived a life marked by exile and controversy. In 1946, Italy abolished its monarchy in a referendum, forcing the royal family to flee the country. The prince spent his childhood and adulthood in Switzerland, never returning to Italy due to a post-war law banning male descendants of the Savoy dynasty from entering the country.

Despite his physical distance, Prince Vittorio Emanuele remained a vocal figure in Italian politics. He actively advocated for the restoration of the monarchy and challenged the legitimacy of the republic in court. These actions, however, fueled public debate and further strained his relationship with Italy.

Beyond his political stance, the prince was known for his adventurous spirit and passion for motorsports. He competed in numerous rallies and races throughout his life, gaining notoriety as a skilled driver and thrill-seeker.

The news of his passing has sparked various reactions across Italy. While some royalists mourn the loss of a symbolic figure, others view it as a turning point, marking the end of an era for the House of Savoy and solidifying the country's republican identity.

Prince Vittorio Emanuele's legacy remains complex and contested. He was a symbol of a bygone era for some, while others saw him as an embodiment of outdated traditions and political divisiveness. Regardless of individual perspectives, his life and passing undoubtedly hold a significant place in Italian history, prompting reflection on the country's past, present, and future.