Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Interview with Half-Belgian Princess of Italy

S.A. Princesse Marie Gabriella of the House of Savoia was interviewed on her vacation on the island of Mallorca by the local magazine Diario de Mallorca. She does not seem to give much hope for the monarchie in Spain. The Princesse is the daughter of Italy's last King Umberto II and Queen Marie-Jose of Belgium. She lives mostly in Switzerland and is a historian of Italy.

Q: Do you remember your departure to exile?
A: “Yes, very well. The year was 1946 and we left Italy on board a warship full of cockroaches, but for us, as children, meant the discovery of the world, it was really fun. After a referendum was not clear who gave the victory to. The King would not face the Italians in a civil war and decided to leave.”

Q: What has served you as the daughter of King?
A: “Our family, the Savoy, has over a thousand years of history. Kings reunified Italy in the nineteenth century. My father, during his exile of more than three decades suffered a lot. He left Italy for 46 years. We love your country. But I was very homesick. Maybe that’s why he collected many prints, books, pictures, history … When he died it was divided into four parts. I bought that I belonged to one of my sisters, so now I have about ten thousand prints, both in books and other curious objects. I have a foundation, do exhibitions and conferences. In fact, I love to do a show in Spain with the clothes of my mother, wonders of the fashion of the Court of the 30s.

Q: “It portrays a world that no longer exists …
A: “Yes, everything has changed. The only maintaining these applications is the Queen of England. My mother was the daughter of King Albert I of Belgium and Elisabeth of Bavaria, the niece of Empress Sisi. The women were all fantastic, with many concerns. It was an independent woman opposite to fascism, he saw the disaster, tried to help but not the left. The war years were terrible.

Q: What do you think of the monarchy today?
A: “I think the monarchy will disappear sooner or later. King Juan Carlos has done very well, not to mention the Queen Sofia. Being Queen is a very hard job and it takes dedication to service. I have other concerns, perhaps because I have lived in exile. The prince who does serve should not resign his post and make way for those willing to sacrifice for this institution.

Q;What do you think Letizia?
A: I’ve seen her only once and was the day of her wedding. I think she is smart. She has a difficult role. That’s why I never wanted to marry a King. Not worth it.

Princess Maria Gabriella was also asked about the state of the House of Savoy, and why she supports her cousin, the Duke of Aosta, rather than her brother as head of the family.

“My brother did some things wrong in his life and is not a good representative of the dynasty. It should be like in Germany. People respect heads of families, but when he misbehaves, it is a quick throw for the cousin or little brother,” she said.

It would have been nice if the princesse could have held out more optimism for the Spanish monarchie since she was being interviewed by a Spanish publication especially.


  1. Well, maybe she was just trying to be realistic. The sad past of her family would not lead to alot of optimism about monarchy in general.

    I've watched some interviews with Maria Gabriella and I like her personality, she seems intelligent, charming and caring. She reminds me of Marie-José, who was also a historian of the Savoys.

  2. I have had the same fears for Spain myself, though I would say that is all the more reason to be confident in public. Interesting what she said about the Savoys, I did not know what her position there was. That is one I struggle with. Monarchy is not supposed to be a popularity contest but it is difficult when the heir is such an unappealing character and the Duke of Aosta wants to really carry on the struggle.

  3. As a general rule, I believe hereditary right should be strictly respected, but in certain cases, I think, there ARE limits to this....

  4. I don't know much about the Italian situation. Is it her brother or nephew who would be the king?

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  6. Well, Vittorio Emanuele, of course, is her brother, and the Duke of Aosta is some kind of cousin of theirs, but I'm not an expert myself on these relationships.

  7. Yes, the Duke of Aosta is third cousin to Princess Maria Gabriella and the Prince of Naples. He is the son of Prince Aimone of Aosta (who was King of Croatia during WW2) and Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark.

    One of the things that often confounds me about these situations is when the heir shows no desire to do his duty as a royal leader and shows no willingness to push for a restoration yet will not simply abdicate his position to another family member who is willing to do so. I suppose it is debatable if this applies to the Italian situation but the Prince of Naples does not seem to be very concerned to me about being taken seriously as a political, cultural, historical figure.