18.03.

1983: The Last King of Italy was Half Montenegrin

1983: The Last King of Italy was Half Montenegrin
Photo Credit To https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-09783,_Mailand,_Italienisches_Kronprinzenpaar.jpg

This day in 1983 marked the death of the last ruling king in the history of Italy – Umberto II of Savoy. He became king after the end of World War II, more precisely in May 1946, when his father abdicated in his favor. Monarchy was abolished in Italy already during the next month, which means Umberto II actually reigned for only 34 days. For this reason he is sometimes called the “May King” (Italian: Re di Maggio).

It is interesting that Umberto’s mother was a Montenegrin. Her name was Elena (Jelena in Montenegrin) and she was the daughter of Montenegrin king Nicholas I Petrović-Njegoš. Her sister Zorka married future Serbian king Peter Karađorđević, with whom she had a son named Alexander (the future king of Yugoslavia who was assassinated in Marseilles). Therefore, King Umberto II and King Alexander were cousins.

After the monarchy was abolished in Italy, Umberto II emigrated. In fact, the Italian constitution of 1947 forbade him and all other male members of the royal dynasty to return to Italy. Thus, Umberto II was never again allowed to set foot in his homeland, and died abroad, in Geneva. Male members of the royal dynasty of Savoy were only allowed to enter Italy in 2002.

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