On This Day: Vittorio Emanuele III Abdicates in Favour of Son

  May 9, 2016 at 10:00 am by

Seventy years ago, the Italian King Vittorio Emanuele III abdicated his throne in favour of his only son, Umberto, in an effort to secure a pro-monarchy outcome in the upcoming referendum.

Despite having been greatly popular for the first three and a half decades of his reign, King Vittorio Emanuele suffered a massive drop in support between the years of 1938 and 1946 that stemmed from a number of decisions which did not sit well with the Italian people: the assumption of the Ethiopian and Albania crowns in 1936 and 1939, and his continued support for Benito Mussolini’s Fascist regime.

Vittorio Emanuele III, ca. 1918

His country’s misfortunes during the Second World War were not helpful to his reign, even after he dismissed Mussolini, as the King had been trained by his earlier support for the dictator.

Vittorio Emanuele transferred his powers to Crown Prince Umberto in June 1944 after Italy signed an armistice with the Allies, but it wasn’t until the war was over that he saw fit to completely abdicate. The public had demanded a referendum on the monarchy and the King felt a favourable outcome would be had if Umberto was on the throne. Unfortunately for the Savoys, this theory proved incorrect as the new King’s reign lasted for all of 35 days as the referendum ousted the monarchy.

Crown Prince Umberto, ca. 1930

King Vittorio Emanuele died the following year in Egypt, where he moved after the referendum when all of the male Savoys were expelled from Italy.

Filed under Historical Royals, Italy
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One Response to On This Day: Vittorio Emanuele III Abdicates in Favour of Son

  1. maria carmen says:

    penso che con i Savoia non saremmo ridotti cosi’. Una nazione vergognosa.

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