King Umberto II of Italy

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Today marks the anniversary of the death of King Umberto II of Italy, who died on this day in 1983! The only son of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Princess Elena of Montenegro, he grew up in Italy and served in the military, a custom of the House of Savoy, which had the heirs removed from politics for as long as possible. In 1930, he married Princess Marie Jose of Belgium, and the couple had four children: the Prince of Naples, Princess Maria Pia, Princess Maria Gabriella, and Princess Maria Beatrice. In an effort to repair the monarchy’s image after the fall of Mussolini’s regime, King Victor Emmanuel transferred his powers to the Crown Prince in 1944, eventually abdicating in May 1946 right before a referendum on the monarchy, which passed and Italy was declared a republic. After the fall of the Monarchy, the King went to Portugal while the Queen and the children lived in Switzerland, since the constitution of the Republic barred all male heirs to the defunct Italian throne from ever returning to Italian soil, until 2002. King Umberto was very active in the exiled royal community in Portugal and travelled extensively during his exile, passing away in Geneva in 1983.


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