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Today marks the 35th Anniversary of the Death of Princess Anne, Duchess of Aosta, who died on this day in 1986! The daughter of Prince Jean, Duke of Guise and Princess Isabelle of Orléans, Princess Anne of Orléans was born in France and grew up between France and Morocco before moving to Belgium when her father became the Head of the House of Orléans and was barred from living in France. In 1927, she married her cousin, Prince Amedeo of Savoy, the Duke of Apulia, son of the Duke of Aosta and Princess Hélène of Orléans. The couple had two daughters, Princess Margherita, Archduchess of Austria-Este and Princess Maria Cristina of the Bourbon Two Sicilies, and became the Duke and Duchess of Aosta in 1931. In 1937, the Duke was appointed the Viceroy and as Governor-General of Italian East Africa, also becoming the Commander-in-Chief of all Italian military forces in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Italian Somaliland. Despite the controversy of the Italian occupation, as the Vicereine of Abyssinia, Duchess created such change that even Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, whose country they were occupying, said: “She had done so much for my county, relay to her my gratitude, and that of the Ethiopian people.” After leading the Italian Forces in Africa during the Second World War, the Duke of Aosta surrendered with honours of war in 1941, and was interned in a prisoner-of-war camp in Kenya, where he died the following year. Princess Anne and her daughters had returned to Italy before the War and and the Allied Armistice of Italy, the Dowager Duchess of Aosta, along with her sister-in-law, Princess Irene of Greece, Duchess of Aosta, and their children were interned by the Nazis in Austria for almost a year until being liberated in May 1945. After the abolition of the Italian Monarchy, Princess Anne and her daughters continued to reside in Italy, and narrowly avoided a diplomatic incident when Emperor Haile Selassie ended a State Visit to Italy after the Government refused to let him invite the Duchess to tea to thank her for her efforts in Ethiopia. Princess Anne continued to attended Royal Events around Europe through the years, and was also present when her grandson, Archduke Lorenz, married Princess Astrid of Belgium in 1984, passing away in Sorrento in 1986.
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