VICTOR EMMANUEL III (Italian : _Vittorio Emanuele III_, Albanian :
_Viktor Emanueli III_; 11 November 1869 – 28 December 1947) was the
King of Italy
Victor Emmanuel abdicated his throne in 1946 in favour of his son
Umberto II , hoping to strengthen support for the monarchy against an
ultimately successful referendum to abolish it . He then went in exile
He was called by the Italians _Il Re soldato_ (The Soldier King) for
having led his country during both the world wars (and for Savoy's
historical affinity with the battlefield, where the dynasty built much
of its power), and, after Italy's victory in the
First World War
* 1 Biography
* 1.1 Early years * 1.2 Accession to the throne
* 1.3 Support to Mussolini
* 1.4 Loss of popular support
* 1.5 Final efforts to save crown
* 1.5.1 Coup d\'état against Mussolini * 1.5.2 Armistice with the Allies * 1.5.3 1946 referendum
* 2 Legacy
* 2.1 Titles and styles
* 2.2 Honours
* 2.2.1 Italian * 2.2.2 Foreign
* 3 Titles of the Crown of Italy * 4 Ancestors * 5 Family * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 External links
Young Victor Emmanuel with his mother, Margherita of Savoy , 1876. Victor Emmanuel as a teenager, 1886. Victor Emmanuel in 1895.
Victor Emmanuel was born in
Unlike his paternal first cousin's son, the 1.98 m (6-foot 6") tall Amedeo, 3rd Duke of Aosta , Victor Emmanuel was short of stature even by 19th-century standards, to the point that today he would appear diminutive. He was just 1.53 m tall (just over 5 feet). From birth until his accession, Victor Emmanuel was known by the title of the PRINCE OF NAPLES.
On 24 October 1896, Prince Victor Emmanuel married Princess Elena of
ACCESSION TO THE THRONE
On 29 July 1900, at the age of 30, Victor Emmanuel acceded to the throne upon his father's assassination. The only advice that his father Umberto ever gave his heir was "Remember: to be a king, all you need to know is how to sign your name, read a newspaper, and mount a horse". His early years showed evidence that, by the standards of the Savoy monarchy, he was a man committed to constitutional government. Indeed, even though his father was killed by an anarchist , the new King showed a commitment to constitutional freedoms.
Though parliamentary rule had been firmly established in Italy, the Statuto Albertino , or constitution, granted the king considerable residual powers. For instance, he had the right to appoint the Prime Minister even if the individual in question did not command majority support in the Chamber of Deputies . A shy and somewhat withdrawn individual, the King hated the day-to-day stresses of Italian politics, though the country's chronic political instability forced him to intervene on no fewer than ten occasions between 1900 and 1922 to solve parliamentary crises.
World War I
SUPPORT TO MUSSOLINI
The economic depression which followed
World War I
March On Rome
King Victor Emmanuel III (right) with King Albert I of the Belgians (left). This photograph shows Victor Emmanuel's small physical stature.
In 1922, Mussolini led a force of his Fascist supporters on a March on Rome . Prime Minister Luigi Facta and his cabinet drafted a decree of martial law . After some hesitation the King refused to sign it, citing doubts about the ability of the army to contain the uprising.
Fascist violence had been growing in intensity throughout the summer
and autumn of 1922, climaxing in rumours of a possible coup. General
The troops were loyal to the King. Even Cesare Maria De Vecchi , commander of the Blackshirts, and one of the organisers of the March on Rome, told Mussolini that he would not act against the wishes of the monarch. It was at this point that the Fascist leader considered leaving Italy altogether. But then, minutes before midnight, he received a telegram from the King inviting him to Rome. By midday on 30 October, he had been appointed President of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister), at the age of 39, with no previous experience of office, and with only 35 Fascist deputies in the Chamber . Victor Emmanuel in Darfo Boario Terme after the Gleno Dam disaster, 1923
The King failed to move against the Mussolini regime's abuses of power (including, as early as 1924, the assassination of Giacomo Matteotti and other opposition MPs) and remained silent during the winter of 1925–26 when Mussolini dropped all pretense of democracy. Later that year, Mussolini passed a law declaring that he was responsible to the King, not Parliament. Although under the Statuto Albertino Italian governments were formally answerable only to the monarch, it had been a strong constitutional convention since at least the 1860s that they were actually answerable to Parliament. By 1928, practically the only check on Mussolini's power was the King's prerogative of dismissing him from office, even if that prerogative could only be exercised on the advice of the Fascist Grand Council , a body that only Mussolini could convene.
Though the King claimed in his memoirs that it was the fear of a civil war that motivated his actions, it would seem that he received some 'alternative' advice, possibly from the archconservative Antonio Salandra as well as General Armando Diaz , that it would be better to do a deal with Mussolini.
Whatever the circumstances, Victor Emmanuel showed weakness from a
position of strength, with dire future consequences for Italy and for
the monarchy itself.
Fascism was a force of opposition to left-wing
radicalism. This appealed to many people in Italy at the time, and
certainly to the King. In many ways, the events from 1922 to 1943
demonstrated that the monarchy and the moneyed class, for different
reasons, felt Mussolini and his regime offered an option that, after
years of political chaos, was more appealing than what they perceived
as the alternative: socialism and anarchism . Both the spectre of the
Russian Revolution and the tragedies of
World War I
In 1929, Mussolini, on behalf of the King, signed the Lateran Treaty
. The treaty was one of the three agreements made that year between
Kingdom of Italy and the
LOSS OF POPULAR SUPPORT
Victor Emmanuel, 1913 portrait.
The Italian monarchy enjoyed popular support for decades. Foreigners noted how even as late as the 1940s newsreel images of King Victor Emmanuel and Queen Elena, born Princess Elena of Montenegro , evoked applause, sometimes cheering, when played in cinemas, in contrast to the hostile silence shown toward images of Fascist leaders.
On 30 March 1938, the Italian Parliament established the rank of First Marshal of the Empire for Victor Emmanuel and Mussolini. This new rank was the highest rank in the Italian military. His equivalence with Mussolini was seen by the king as offensive, and a clear sign that the ultimate goal of the fascist was to get rid of him.
As popular as Victor Emmanuel was, several of his decisions proved
fatal to the monarchy. Among these decisions were his assumption of
the imperial crown of
Emperor Of Ethiopia
Victor Emmanuel III visiting Hungary - 1937 King Victor Emmanuel III in his uniform as Marshal of Italy in 1936.
Prior to his government's invasion of
League of Nations
The term of the last acting
Viceroy of Italian East Africa ,
King Of The Albanians
The crown of the
King of the Albanians had been assumed by Victor
Emmanuel in 1939 when Italian forces invaded the nearly defenseless
monarchy across the
In 1941, while in
FINAL EFFORTS TO SAVE CROWN
On 10 June 1940, ignoring advice that the country was unprepared,
Mussolini made the fatal decision to have Italy enter
World War II
As Italy's fortunes worsened, the popularity of the King suffered. One coffee-house ditty went as follows: _Quando Vittorio era soltanto re_ _Si bevea del buon caffè._ _Poi divenne Imperatore_ _Se ne sentì solo l’odore._ _Oggi che è anche Re d’Albania_ _Anche l’odore l’ han portato via._ _E se avremo un’altra vittoria_ _Ci mancherà anche la cicoria._ "When our Victor was plain King, Coffee was a common thing. When an Emperor he was made, Coffee's odour it did fade. Since he got Albania's throne, Even the odour has flown. And if we have another victory We're also going to lose our chicory ."
On 19 July 1943, Rome was bombed for the first time in the war, further cementing the Italian people's disillusionment with their once-popular King.
Coup D\'état Against Mussolini
Main article: 25 Luglio
On the night of 25 July 1943, the
Grand Council of Fascism voted to
adopt an _Ordine del Giorno_ (order of the day) proposed by
The following afternoon, Mussolini asked for an audience with the
king at Villa Savoia. When Mussolini tried to tell Victor Emmanuel
about the Grand Council's vote, Victor Emmanuel abruptly cut him off
and told him that he was dismissing him as Prime Minister in favour of
Publicly, Victor Emmanuel and Badoglio claimed that Italy would continue the war as a member of the Axis . Privately, they both began negotiating with the Allies for an armistice. Court circles—including Crown Princess Marie-José —had already been putting out feelers to the Allies before Mussolini's ousting.
Armistice With The Allies
On 8 September 1943, Victor Emmanuel publicly announced an armistice
with the Allies . Confusion reigned as Italian forces were left
without orders, and the Germans, who had been expecting this move for
some time, quickly disarmed and interned Italian troops and took
control in the occupied Balkans, France and the
Fearing a German advance on Rome, Victor Emmanuel and his government
fled south to
Ultimately, the Badoglio government in southern Italy raised the Italian Co-Belligerent Army (_Esercito Cobelligerante del Sud_), the Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force (_Aviazione Cobelligerante Italiana_), and the Italian Co-Belligerent Navy (_Marina Cobelligerante del Sud_). All three forces were loyal to the King.
On 12 September, the Germans launched Operation Eiche and rescued Mussolini from captivity. In a short time, he established a new Fascist state in northern Italy, the Italian Social Republic (_Repubblica Sociale Italiana_). This was never more than a German-dominated puppet state , but it did compete for the allegiance of the Italian people with Badoglio's government in the south.
Realizing that he was too tainted by his earlier support of the Fascist regime, in April 1944 Victor Emmanuel transferred most of his powers to his son, Crown Prince Umberto . By so doing, Victor Emmanuel relinquished most of his power while retaining the title of king. This status was formalized shortly after Rome was liberated on 4 June, when he turned over his remaining powers to Umberto and named him Lieutenant General of the Realm .
Within a year, public opinion forced a referendum on whether to
retain the monarchy or become a republic. On 9 May 1946, hoping to win
over voters to the monarchist cause, Victor Emmanuel formally
abdicated, and was succeeded by son Umberto II. This move failed. In
the referendum held a month later, 52 percent of voters favoured a
republic, and the
Kingdom of Italy was no more. Some historians (such
as Sir Charles Petrie ) have speculated that the result might have
been different if Victor Emmanuel had abdicated in favour of Umberto
shortly after the Allied invasion of
In any event, once the referendum's result was officialized, all male
members of the
House of Savoy were required to leave the country,
never to return. Taking refuge in
Busts of King Victor Emmanuel III and Queen Elena; forecourt of the Russian Orthodox Church (Church of Christ the Saviour, St. Catherine and St. Seraph). Sanremo, Italy
The abdication prior to the referendum probably brought back to the minds of undecided voters the monarchy's role during the Fascist period and the King's own actions (or lack of them), at the very moment monarchists hoped voters would focus on the positive impression created by Umberto and his wife, Princess Maria José over the previous two years. The 'May' King and Queen, Umberto and Maria José, in Umberto's brief, month-long reign, were unable to shift the burden of recent history and opinion.
Victor Emmanuel III was one of the most prolific coin collectors of all time, having amassed approximately 100,000 specimens dating from the fall of the Roman Empire up to the Unification of Italy. On his abdication, the collection was donated to the Italian people, except for the coins of the House of Savoy which he took with him to Egypt. On the death of Umberto II in 1983, the Savoy coins joined the rest of the collection in the National Museum of Rome . Between 1910 and 1943 Victor Emmanuel wrote the 20-volume _Corpus Nummorum Italicorum,_ which catalogued each specimen in his collection. He was awarded the medal of the Royal Numismatic Society in 1904.
At one point there was an avenue in Paris named _Avenue Victor-Emmanuel III,_ but the fascist king's support of the Axis Powers led the road to be renamed _Franklin D. Roosevelt Avenue_ following the end of World War II.
Styles of KING VICTOR EMMANUEL III
SPOKEN STYLE Your Majesty
ALTERNATIVE STYLE Sir
TITLES AND STYLES
* 11 NOVEMBER 1869 – 29 JULY 1900: _His Royal Highness_ The Prince of Naples
* 29 JULY 1900 – 9 MAY 1946: _His Majesty_ The
King of Italy
* 9 MAY 1936 – 5 MAY 1941: _His Imperial Majesty_ The Emperor of Ethiopia * 16 APRIL 1939 – 8 SEPTEMBER 1943: _His Majesty_ The King of the Albanians
* 9 MAY 1946 – 28 DECEMBER 1947 _His Majesty_ King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy
* Grand Master of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation * Grand Master of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus * Grand Master of the Military Order of Savoy * Grand Master of the Civil Order of Savoy * Grand Master of the Order of the Crown of Italy * Grand Master of the Colonial Order of the Star of Italy * Grand Master of the Order of Besa (Italian Albania) * Grand Master of the Order of Skanderbeg (Italian Albania) * Grand Master of the Order of the Roman Eagle * Mauritian Medal for military merit of 10 Lustrums * War Merit Cross * Commemorative Medal for the Italo-Austrian War 1915–1918 * Commemorative Medal of Campaigns of Independence Wars * Commemorative Medal of the Unity of Italy
* Knight of the Order of the Elephant (Denmark) * Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the White Lion (Czechoslovakia) * Knight of the Order of the Seraphim (Sweden) * VR III/1 of the Cross of Liberty (Estonia) * Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Lion and the Sun (Persia)
* Knight of the
Order of Saint Peter of Cetinje (Montenegro)
* Knight Grand Cross of the
Order of Lāčplēsis (Latvia)
* Collar of the
Order of the Chrysanthemum (Japan)
* Knight of the
Order of the Black Eagle
TITLES OF THE CROWN OF ITALY
Relief of coat of arms of Victor Emmanuel III in Rhodes,
From 1860 to 1946, the following titles were used by the King of Italy :
Victor Emmanuel III, by the Grace of God and the Will of the Nation,
King of Italy
ANCESTORS OF VICTOR EMMANUEL III OF ITALY
16. Charles Emmanuel, Prince of
8. Charles Albert of Sardinia (=#12)
17. Princess Maria Christina of Saxony (= #23, #25)
18. Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany (= #26)
9. Maria Theresa of Austria (=#13)
21. Maria Luisa of
22. Charles Emmanuel, Prince of
23. Princess Maria Christina of Saxony (= #17, #25)
1. VICTOR EMMANUEL III OF ITALY
24. Charles Emmanuel, Prince of
12. Charles Albert of Sardinia (=#8)
25. Princess Maria Christina of Saxony (= #17, #23)
6. Prince Ferdinand, Duke of Genoa
26. Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany (= #18)
13. Maria Theresa of Austria (=#9)
14. John of Saxony
Giovanna of Italy, Tsaritsa of Bulgaria, 1937.
* Yolanda Margherita Milena Elisabetta Romana Maria (1901–1986),
married to Giorgio Carlo Calvi,
Kingdom of Italy
Amedeo, 3rd Duke of Aosta ,
* Biography portal
* Italy portal
* ^ "Biography for King Victor Emmanuel III". IMDb.com. Retrieved
* ^ 10
* ^ Lettere al re (1914-1918).
* ^ American Philatelic Association. _The American Philatelist,
Volume 110, Issues 7-12_. p. 618.
* ^ Gufu Oba. _Nomads in the Shadows of Empires: Contests,
Conflicts and Legacies on the Southern Ethiopian-Northern Kenyan
Frontier_. p. 160.
* ^ Indor Montanelli, Mario Cervi, _Storia d'italia. L'Italia della
guerra civile_, RCS, 2003.
* ^ Owen Pearson, _
* Mack Smith, Denis (1989). _Italy and its Monarchy_. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-05132-8 .
Reference 4: James Rennell Rodd . Social and Diplomatic Memories. Third Series. 1902-1919. London, 1925.
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