Hautecombe Abbey, Saint-Pierre-de-Curtille, France 18/03/2023
On the 40th Anniversary of the passing of HM King Umberto II
SAVOY (FRANCE) – At the behest of the Royal Family, a Holy Mass was celebrated on 18 March at the Royal Abbey of Hautecombe in memory of HM King Umberto II and Queen Maria José, one of the most heartfelt and well-attended ceremonies by members of the Dynastic Orders of the Royal House of Savoy. 40 years have passed since HM King Umberto II passed away on 18 March 1983 at the Cantonal Hospital in Geneva with the word “Italy” on his lips.
The Holy Rite was presided over by Mgr. Gianfranco Troya, Rector of the Shrine of Racconigi, who was appointed Royal Chaplain by King Umberto II in 1973.
Some six hundred people gathered in the presence of TT RR HH Prince Vittorio Emanuele: among them Princess Marina, Prince Emanuele Filiberto and His daughter, Princess Victoria of Savoy, Princess Maria Pia, Princes Serge, Dimitri and Michel of Yugoslavia, Madame Elisabeth Zellinger of Balkany, with her husband and son, Princess Elena of Hesse with her consort.
The ceremony was commissioned by the Royal Family and organised by the Grand Chancellery and the private secretariat of TT RR HH. with the collaboration and supervision of the Ceremonial Office and, in particular, the Deputy Head of Ceremonial, Gr. Uff. Alberto Di Maria, Delegate for Lombardy and Trustee for Liguria. It was attended by a large number of Authorities, Dames and Knights, Guards of Honour, monarchist faithful from various associations and supporters. Also present was a group of Carabinieri in historical uniforms who wanted the Princess of Carignano to be the godmother of their historical war flag.
Mgr. Troya’s introduction focused on the memory of His Majesty: “I am glad to have met him and to have known him as the last Royal Chaplain. In a personal meeting he said to me: “I’m going to make you work now”, he knelt down and asked me to confess him. I firmly believe that one day we will see each other again without a watch on our wrist, for all of God’s eternity”.
The Holy Mass was also attended by the Mayor of Racconigi, H.M. Umberto II’s hometown, with a delegation from the town, and various combatant and military corps associations, Combatants and those Decorated for Military Valour, the National Institute of the Guard of Honour to the Royal Tombs of the Pantheon and the Italian Red Cross.
Various monarchist and cultural associations were also present, including the Gruppo Savoia, Italia Reale, the Compagnon de Savoie, Académie de Savoie, Académie de Florimontane and Amies du Vieux Chambery.
La celebrazione è stata animata dai canti della corale Les Hirondelellles di Aosta, molto apprezzati da tutti i convenuti e gentilmente offerta dalla Delegazione per la Valle d’Aosta.
Following the celebration, the participants paused inside the Grange Batelière, at the foot of the Abbey, to greet TT RR HH during a reception organised thanks to the commitment of the Savoy Delegation. It was an opportunity for participants to enjoy a friendly meeting after the Holy Mass.
As a concrete token of gratitude and a pledge of the Royal Family’s undiminished closeness to the Abbey, the Dynastic Orders of the Royal House of Savoy made a donation to the Chemin Neuf Community, which will be used to cover the costs of restoring the bell tower.