The Royal House of Savoy: History, Older News, Stories and Pictures

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Heir Apparent
Apr 17, 2004
Somewhere in the middle of the River Po Valley
The Prince of Venice and his wife hosted in a talk-show at Italian state-run tv in 2004 (farabola)

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EF and his former girlfriend, Alejandra di Andia (farabola)

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With another ex girlfriend of his Natasha Andress, Ursula's niece (farabola)
When he was dating actress Francesca Dellera (olycom)
Princess Maria Gabriela of Savoy in her Villa of Saboya

Translation from Hola!
(issue ner. 3218)
by mtbcm

Princess Maria Gabriela of Savoy in her Villa of Geneva speaks about the Foundation she created - FOUNDATION UMBERTO II AND MARIA JOSÉ, the books she published about her family dinasty and her life

(Villa’s Main front, of XVIII Century French style)

It’s snowing heavily outside when I cross the garden until reaching the villa’s door, of French style XVIII Century, which belongs Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Gabriela de Savoy. Three nice dogs bark while I’m conducted to her presence. The Princess welcomes me in her office, where she spends many hours classifying and ordering photos and historical documents, with which she has published two books; the first one about the House of Savoy Jewels and the second, which was presented recently in Rome.

(Princess Maria Gabriela when in 1968 attended a party in Lisboa and being considered, at that time, one of the most beautiful princesses of Europe)

Maria Gabriela is a very cult and intelligent woman. She speaks five languages. Affable. Has a great sense of humor and her aristocratic posture is suitable for a Queen.

(P Maria Gabriela de Savoy pictured at the library with her daughter Elisabeth of Balkany, her granddaughter Gabriela and two of her dogs “Tina” and “Tótó” &
standing in a sunny corner of her house with two pots and respective “collages”)

In the Saloon there's a portrait of an antecessor Maria Luisa Gabriela de Savoy, who was Queen of Spain after her wedding with Felipe V de Borbón.

-She died very young, with only 26 years-old – says the Princess standing in front of the portrait – But that wasn’t the only union by matrimony with a Borbón. There were over 40 weddings between the House of Borbón and the House of Savoy.
The wall of this house, that looks a museum, are filled with paintings and portraits of antecessors from several Royal Houses with which the Family of Savoy had or still has family ties, like the Spanish, the Belgium, the Yugoslav, the German and the Portuguese.

The Princess, since many years, dedicates herself to the busy job of collecting and classifying endless documents, photos, books, diaries, condecorations, Royal Mantles, uniforms, paintings and all sort of objects related with her family. And with all she started a Foundation, of an extraordinary value, called Foundation Umberto II and Maria José de Savoy.

(Princess shows the portrait of Queen Maria Luisa Gabriela de Savoy, Queen of Spain by marriage to Felipe V)

(Main saloon with valorous furniture and art objects of different eras. We can see a portrait on the left of Queen Maria Luisa)

(P Maria Gabriela poses next to the pianos above which are photos of several personalities. On the wall three Elisabeth in the family (the one in the right is her daughter Elisabeth of Balkany))

(Source: article and photos from Hola magazine)
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Translation from Hola!
(issue ner. 3218)

by mtbcm

(Queen Maria José of Italy (former Princess of Belgium)

(King Umberto II and Queen Maria José)

The Foundations has 20 years

How did the idea of a Foundation rise?

Several years before his death, my fathers, King Umberto, told me about his wish of making an exhibit or create a cultural centre about our family with the 15 thousands images, 70 thousand books and all the paintings he had collected throughout his life. His testament divided that important legacy. In 1986 I created this Foundation donning part of my legacy and one of my sisters’ legacies after I bought it from her.

The Foundation is 20 years old and is a historical and cultural investigation centre about my family. I continue purchasing all regarding the Savoys and add it to the Foundation patrimony.

When we leave the house to go to the Foundation I watch the elegance and calmness of Maria Gabriela while walking. It’s not a regal pose. The Princess, who always loved sports, had recently an accident while skiing in Gstaad.
The moment I step the Foundation I was impressed with the vision of Royal Mantles, entering into my eyes like cascades of silk embroidered in gold and silver. The estanterias are filled with objects, books, documents and around 8 thousand images that show the complicated work of search and classification made by the Princess.
Over a big table there’s an exhibit, in perfect order, medals, bands and condecorations. I’m allowed to check Queens’ Diaries, some letters and documents.

News about the Savoy

As an example, the Princess shows and ancient copy of a 1034 document.
This is the known most ancient letter about the Savoy. It is signed by the founder of the Dynasty, Count Umberto, nicknamed as “The White Hands” because he was a owner who never worked in the farm.
Over an expositor I see a copy, done in 1880, of an outfit that belonged to Emmanuel Filiberto, Duke of Savoy, done for a tournament.
- Emmanuel Filiberto was cousin of Felipe II. He was the general of Carlos V Army and won the San Quintín batal against the French.

(P Maria Gabriela with her last book in the main saloon)

How is the Foundation financed?

With donations, with the selling of rights, with the sail of books that I’ve written and with the re-edition of historical books written by my mother. Also with the benefits achieved with the concession of objects and paintings to expositions and conferences.

Three Queens, Three Chapters

What is your last book about?

Illustrated with pictures, images and paintings shows the richness, protocol and ceremonies of the Court, contrasting with pictures of family and private pictures of Savoy Family.

When consulting “Vita di Corte in Casa Savoia” it is divided in three chapters corresponding to the life of three Queens of Savoy: Margarita, Elena and Maria José, author’s mother. The images are wonderful: castles, palaces, Throne Rooms, uniform sketches, dresses, jewels, menus, invitations, letters, musical and celebration programs, cards with the order and disposition of guests in royal events, carriages and train interiors, etc. And all at a time where protocol had restrict norms including in what regarded outfits and jewels for the distinct occasions.
- I could mention as example of important event, by the faustuous ceremony, the Funeral of Umberto I, the Christening of Princess Yolanda and my parents’ wedding; the curious thing is that I don’t know anything about the Italy Court Gossips. I was only six years-old when, with all my family, we were exiled in Portugal.

Why were you exiled?

We lost the war and my grandfather, who was also King of Albany and Ethiopia,was acused of being compromised with fascism. But my grandfather wasn’t a facist. The incredible thing is that, at the time, 40 million Italians were glad with that regim. And on the second of June of 1946 there was a referendum, and the Italian Republic was chosen. At the 13th article of 1948 Italian Constitution was forbidden the entrance in Italy of the former Kings.

The Spanish Royal Family

You would meet, then, the Spanish Royal Family.

Exactly. Being Portugal a neutral country, President Salazar welcome in exile the Counts of Barcelona and their family, but also the Counts of Paris with 11 children; King Carol of Rumania family and The Hapsburg. One day, my father told us that we were going to take us to meet the Spanish Royal Family. I, naively, asked if they were using crowns and mantles, like I had seen in child histories. Maria Pía, my eldest sister, replied “Don’t say stupidities!”

(Personal photo where we can see Maria Gabriela with King Juan Carlos and Countess of Toro, in hunting)

(Source: article and photos from Hola magazine)

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Translation from Hola!
(issue ner. 3218)
by mtbcm

(A very elegant Princess Maria Gabriela, dressed by Carvín, her sister Princess Beatriz (Titi) de Savoy and Count Olivieri attending King Constantine and Queen Anne Marie Wedding)

What do you remember from exile?

We lived without any luxury. The luxury for me was the weather, the beaches and horses. Twice a week I went horse ridding with Countess of Barcelona. In some occasions I went to, the now so unpopular, fox hunt with dogs invited by Doña Maria. We always met when our families joined to attend the Mass. And being tall, in my adolescence, they paired me with Don Juanito to dance, how we called in family your King, for whom I cherish a great respect and admiration. I met Don Juan Carlos when I was only 8 years old. And we are still good friends.

How was your academic formation?

I studied at home with private teachers; many of them were priests. And since there wasn’t an Italian School in Lisbon, I had to do my exams at the Italian School of Madrid. I studied three years at an Interpreters School in Geneva, where I achieved my diploma of Translator. In Paris I spent 4 years at the Louvre School. There I discovered my true affection for History and Arts. In Salzburg, during the summer, I had painting classes with the Maestro Oskar Kokoschka. Nowadays I don’t paint but I do “collages” over furniture, pots and objects.

Married and Divorced

You met in Paris the one that would be your husband

Yes. I met Robert de Balkany in Paris and married him at Costa Azul. We had one daughter, Elisabeth, that is married with Olivier Janssens and reciently gave me two grandsons: Gabriela who celebrates today her second birthday and Tomás who is only one month old. I’m divorced since some years ago.

I remember, during the seventies, to see you arrive Ibiza in your impressive Yacht “Marala”

Robert, my ex-husband, continues sailing in “Marala”. I spend all Julys in Ibiza. I love the sea and sun of the island. Those are things I miss very much here in Switzerland. In the year Pachá was inaugurated we had invited my cousins Kings Simeón and Margarita of Bulgaria and I remember you took us to the Disco and offered us t-shirts with cherries.

It was very funny to see you wearing those t-shirts and to see Queen Margarita (Bulgaria) dancing with so much enthusiasm. There were times without paparazzi. What remembers you most from Spain?

I couldn’t attend the wedding of Carmen Martinez-Bordiu because I gave birth to my daughter in the same day. I named my daughter after my grandmother the Queen of Belgium, who was the person I loved most in my family. Nevertheless, some years later, I attend the wedding of Carmen’s sister Mariola. I was invited for Infantas Elena and Cristina and Prince Felipe’s weddings. I was delighted with Sevilla wedding. Prince Felipe wedding was somehow damaged by the rain and the long waiting. I also attended Don Juan and Doña Sofia’s wedding in Athens, and Doña Pilar’s in Lisboa.

(Princess shows, at the Foundation Umberto Ii and Maria José, a Royal Mantle embroidered with gold which was a wedding gift to the Princess’s mother)

The New Royalty

What do you think about the new generation of Royals?

Being a King’s daughter I can’t allow to do may comments. I believe the monarchies evolutes with time. The true if that a lack of self-discipline is noted. In History we can see Monarchies to give way to dictator regimes, dictators to republic regime and again monarchy. The good thing in monarchy is that the Head of State isn’t compromised with political parties.
On the July 11th 2002, the Italian Senate allowed the return of Savoy Family to Italy. And your first acts of courtesy were to Pope Juan Paul II and to President of Republic.

My father, in his will, left the Holly Shroud of Turin to the Vatican with Juan Paul II being Pope. Since 1453 the Holly Shroud of Turin was propriety of Savoy House. It is the most important relinquish for Christian World. First photo made of Holly Shroud of Turin was by Secondo Pia in 1898 and is archived at the Foundation.

(Princess shows the first chemise of her grandfather King Albert I of Belgium belonging to the Foundation)

(A view in the foundation)

After thanking the Princess for her kindness during this interview, we leave together to the garden, covered with snow, to walk the dogs. The princess tells me she is a good gardener. And shows me with sorrow some pots where she planted Spanish seeds that the weather didn’t allow to grow.

(Source: article and photos from Hola magazine)


Thank you Warren, Elsa and Anna for your help:flowers:!

This interview was conducted by Nati Abascal for Hola. I translated it and scanned the pictures from Hola magazine, issue 3218.
I hope you can enjoy it as much as I did while doing it:) .

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Great job again, Mtbcm! :flowers:

This is great staff! Thank you for taking all the work with translating and scanning this article for us all! It's very much appreciated!
Prince Napoleon (1822 - 1891) married the wife from this House?
Emanuele Filiberto and wife Clotilde visiting Ground Zero last year.(DIVAeDONNA)

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EF and Clotilde in New York this past winter (DIVAeDonna)
Mafalda di Savoia

Does anyone have any pictures or information on the life of mafalda and her descendants? Right now there's a telefilm on an italian channel depicting her life.
Sarrie said:
Does anyone have any pictures or information on the life of mafalda and her descendants? Right now there's a telefilm on an italian channel depicting her life.
Princess Mafalda's children are Princes and Princesses of Hesse, and you will find some information in the House of Hesse thread.
You could also check out The Royals and the Reich thread where Princess Mafalda and her husband Landgrave Philipp of Hesse are mentioned.

See also the wedding threads in Old, New, Royal and Blue for the marriages of Erbprinz Heinrich Donatus and his brother Prince Philipp of Hesse, both grandsons of Princess Mafalda.
Princess Clotilde with Prince Emanuele Filiberto posing next to Philippe Junot at a gala in 2004 (gettyimages)

quote=Tosca]Princess Clotilde with Prince Emanuele Filiberto posing next to Philippe Junot at a gala in 2004 (gettyimages)


Isn't Philippe Junot the first husband of princess Caroline of monaco?
An employee of Christie's action house displays a rare antique diamond tiara by Faberge, circa 1890, with a series of graduated old-cut diamond arches with knife edge collet spacers and central pear-shaped diamonds 11 May 2007 during a preview in Geneva. This tiara from the collection of Princess Maria Gabriella di Savoia is expected to fetch Euro 590 000-880 000

ANP Beeldbank
There's a small gallery for Princess Maria Gabriella di Savoia and her ex husband Robert de Balkany @ Olycom

Princess Maria Gabriella di Savoia with her daughter Maria Elisabetta de Balkany in Venaria - Divaedonna
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I need photo ID help! I saw this photo over at The Glittering Royals MB:
At first I figured the man next to Marie Jose (on the left) was Umberto, but then I saw he was in the middle behind Elisabeth. So who is the man next to Marie Jose? He looks an awful lot like Umberto but I know Umberto didn't have any brothers so could he have been a look-a-like cousin?
Galerías de imágenes
really very old foto of prince Vittorio Emanuele with his sister Maria Gabriella during the wedding of princess Sofia to prince Juan Carlos of Spain (Source: Hola)

Galerías de imágenes
another foto from the same wedding- princess Maria Beatrice
(source- Hola)
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Marina Doria, the future Princess of Piedmont, with playboy Beppe Piroddi in Saint Tropez back in the 60's (dagospia)
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