King Umberto I (1844-1900) and Queen Margherita (1851-1926)

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Oct 3, 2008
United States
King Umberto I's Royal Tour of 1881

I will be greatly indebted and appreciative for anyone who is able to provide information on the following photograph. It is rare, historically significant and has been in my family's possession for approximately 130 years.

This photo is presumed to have been taken in Caltanissetta, Sicily during King Umberto's tour of 1881. It is well referenced that King Umberto stopped in Caltanissetta during his '81 tour; the tour was from January 3rd til the 29th, 1881. It involved Sicilia, Calabria and Basilicata:
04 january: Umberto and Margherita arrive at Palermo
12 id: Agrigento
13 id: Caltanisetta
15 id: Messina and Catania
17 id: Reggio
25 / 27 id: Potenza
The photograph features King Umberto I, seated, front/center. From the viewers' perspective, one will find Salvatore Melfa, (either Secretary of France, or Secretary of Finance) with his left hand on the King's right shoulder. I am unaware as to the identity of the boy in the back right of the photograph (playing with his bow tie), as well as the identity of the gentleman seated next to the King. Perhaps it's Benedetto Cairoli- who accompanied the King, his son Victor Emmanuel III, and his wife Margherita of Savoy. Most photographs available of Cairoli would disprove this theory- as his facial hair is different than in the photo- however, I have found a rare photograph (which I will post as well) that supports this claim.

Again, any information, thoughts and comments will be met with great enthusiasm. I am confident that the great wealth of knowledge here will help shed some light on this photograph.

Lastly- I apologize for the poor quality. I have the original in my possession, but the photograph I will post is a camera picture of a photocopied version- thus 3 times removed. I will post much higher digital quality images shortly. Thank you.
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And finally, two more digital images.


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The Relationship of The Duchess of Litta with King Umberto I and Queen Margherita

In 1862, King Umberto I met Eugenia Attendolo Bolognini Litta on a carnaval organized by governor Giuseppe Pasolini and soon she became his mistress. Six years later, King Umberto I married his cousin Margherita. He made Eugenia maid of honor. But Eugenia was intrusive, she wanted to follow the couple to everywhere, including to Milan. When she was not allowed to do that, she screamed, yelled, and threaten to resign. But, she followed Margherita on her travels. Margherita did not know about Eugenia's relationship to King Umberto I.

One afternoon, a furious quarrel broke out between Eugenia and Margherita. Eugenia was in tears and Margherita wanted a separation. Eugenia resigned her position and Margherita only had a formal relationship with King Umberto I.

After the birth of an heir, Margherita received a long string of pearls but it did not compare with Eugenia's twelve string pearls. In 1870, Eugenia gave birth to their son, Alfonso who did not survive. A year later, their relationship ceased and King Umberto I took other lovers, like Vincenza Santa Fiore but he never fully stopped his relationship with Eugenia.

Since the couple became monarch, Eugenia and Margherita met less and less. Eugenia did not become lady of court. One day, they met again in a ball of Countess Samaglia and an incident happen when Eugenia and Margherita wore the same pearl necklace. A year later, Margherita went to Monza to saw her aging enemy and she said, "I think now of my grandmother."

Eugenia and Margherita had contrast root policy. Margherita appreciated Crispi but Eugenia despised him and prefered Urbano Rattazzi who Margherita later gave a hard time doing, rejecting her application.

King Umberto I was assasinated in 1900. Margherita allowed Eugenia to see his body but she cannot went to the state funeral. King Umberto I left Eugenia twenty millions.

Please correct me if I have mistakes in this short passage :).
When Umberto's father reigned, Vittorio Emanuele reigned as King Vittorio Emanuele II even though he was the first sovereign of the new Italian Kingdom.
Umberto chose to reign as King Umberto I rather than as King Umberto IV using the older Savoy numbering. :italyflag3::twosiciliesflag:

King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Caprera in 1899.
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Umberto specifically chose to reign as King Umberto I rather than King Umberto IV using the older Savoy numbering. He did not want to appear as a Piedmontese sovereign ruling Italy.

King Umberto I signed the oath formula in Rome.

During her representational tours through Italy, made to arouse popularity for the royal house, Margherita was careful to wear local folk costumes and demonstrate enthusiasm for local customs, traditions and culture.

King Umberto attended the exercises of the officers of Cavalry School of Tor di Quinto.
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