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Last Saturday, June 29th, the Knights and Dames of the Delegations from Aosta Valley, Savoy, and Switzerland of the Dynastic Orders of the Royal House of Savoy gathered at the Hospice of Grand Saint-Bernard for a day of pilgrimage in the footsteps of H.R.H. Prince Vittorio Emanuele.

This day commemorated September 8, 1943, when the young Prince, accompanied by his mother, H.M. Queen Maria José, then Princess of Piedmont, and his sisters, found refuge in Switzerland to avoid falling into the hands of the German troops invading Italy. Hitler’s terrible order was to kidnap the young Prince and take him to Germany.

To commemorate this historical event, the Knights and Dames from the three Alpine Delegations met in June 2016 and June 2019 with the late Prince Vittorio Emanuele on this ancient road. The last wish of H.R.H. was to return once more to these memory-filled places. Even though history decided otherwise, his wish was still fulfilled in his memory.

The day began with a Requiem Mass celebrated by Rev. Monsignor Jean-Pierre Voutaz, Provost of Grand Saint Bernard, in the presence of H.E. Johannes Niederhauser, Knight of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation, Grand Chancellor of the Dynastic Orders, and 45 Knights and Dames, along with their companions.

The celebration took place in the splendid church of the Hospice, sometimes called the “Sistine Chapel of the Alps.”

Monsignor Voutaz then presented the treasures of the Hospice archives and gave a fascinating lecture on the complex relationships between Savoy, France, and Valais in the 15th and 16th centuries.

The charitable lunch allowed various guests to exchange views in memory of H.R.H.

The proceeds from the gathering will be used to repair the historic plaque of the Mauritian Order at the Mauritian Hospital in Aosta and the Hospice of Grand Saint Bernard.


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