HRH PRINCE VITTORIO EMANUELE, DUKE OF SAVOY, PRINCE OF NAPLES,
Head of the Royal House of Italy
Grand Master of the Dynastic Orders of the Royal House:
XXVIII Grand Master of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation
XVII Grand Master of the Orders of the Saints Maurice and Lazarus
VI Grand Master of the Civil Order of Savoy
Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy was born in Naples on 12 February 1937 in the city’s Royal Palace, son of the Crown Prince Umberto of Savoy and Princess Maria José. Vittorio Emanuele Alberto, Carlo Teodoro Umberto Bonifacio Amedeo Damiano Bernardino Gennaro Maria is the only male son of the last King of Italy Umberto II and Queen Maria José.
The first years of his life were spent happily until World War II broke out and dragged Italy into a devastating experience. The Crown Princes spent a long time separated because of the military role of the Prince of Piedmont, so Vittorio Emanuele received an education suited to his role as Crown Prince of Italy.
During the last stage of the war, the Princess of moved to Switzerland with her children to avoid the risk of Nazi reprisals. On returning to the Quirinale Palace in Rome they stayed close to Prince Umberto who became Lieutenant General of the King in 1944.
On 9 May 1946 King Vittorio Emanuele III abdicated and Umberto became the fourth King of Italy. King Umberto II and Queen Maria José stood on the balcony of the Quirinale Palace with small Vittorio Emanuele next to his father and sisters overlooking a huge, applauding crowd.
The hard moments lived with the institutional referendum weighed on young Vittorio Emanuele who, though still very young, remembers those heated days sadly.
Finally the painful farewell to the Homeland, leaving the Quirinale, when young Vittorio Emanuele, referring to the memory of the applauding crowd just a month earlier, said: “but first they applaud us and now they’re sending us away?".
Queen Maria José and the children left Naples. The battleship Duca degli Abruzzi, the same ship that took Vittorio Emanuele III and Queen Elena to Egypt, sailed at dawn on 6 June 1946. Umberto was to leave Italy on 13 June on board a four-engined plane. And his wave before the door closed is one of the most famous pictures of Italy’s recent history.
After a short stay in Portugal, the Queen and her son Vittorio Emanuele moved to Switzerland. The new life of the young Prince of Naples began here, supported by tutors and attending boarding school. The relationship with his father did not break, but the distance was felt and Vittorio Emanuele certainly missed a father figure.
While still a boy, Vittorio Emanuele fell in love with Marina Ricolfi Doria, swimming champion and daughter of an important entrepreneurial family of Italian origin living in Geneva. The bond was very strong and even now, after more than forty years, the Prince and Princess of Naples are very close.
Vittorio Emanuele built his profession thanks to international relations with many heads of state and government; promoting many prestigious middle-sized Italian companies wanting to distribute their products globally. He was a precursor of promoting Made in Italy.
In 1970 he married Marina Ricolfi Doria in Las Vegas. The marriage was consecrated in Tehran on 7 October 1971. The court of the Shah of Persia was always open to the Princes of Naples. The Shah was a great friend of Prince Vittorio Emanuele. Messages from King Umberto II were read during the ceremony and at the party held in the Castle of Merlinge the Queen awaited her son with a reception worthy of the Crown Prince.
Emanuele Filiberto, Prince of Piedmont and Venice was born in 1972. He is the only child of the royal couple always very busy with the international activities of Vittorio Emanuele.
Since the death of King Umberto II in 1983, the Prince of Naples, Vittorio Emanuele has become Head of the House of Savoy, Head of the Royal House of Italy, and has dedicated himself with passion to the charity activities of the Dynastic Orders of the Royal House.