This weekend, members of European royal families gathered in Turin for the funeral of Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia, the son of the last King and Queen of Italy. As with most royal moments of memorial and remembrance, lovely jewelry set with pearls and diamonds was worn for the service.
We talked a little bit last week about the complicated life of the late Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy, who was the only son of King Umberto II of Italy and Princess Marie-José of Belgium. On Saturday, royals from current and formerly reigning families gathered in Turin for the late prince’s funeral. The mourners were led by Vittorio Emanuele’s wife, Marina, and their son, Emanuele Filiberto. Marina, whose 89th birthday was on Monday, wore a suite of floral jewelry set with diamonds and white and black pearls.
Emanuele Filiberto was joined by his wife, the French actress Clotilde Courau, and their daughters, Vittoria and Luisa, at the funeral service. Clotilde wore classic diamond and pearl earrings.
Vittoria wore the miniature badge and ribbon of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation on her coat for the funeral. The order is centuries old, originally founded by the Counts of Savoy in the 1300s. After Italian unification in the nineteenth century, the honor was bestowed by the King of Italy. The monarchy was abolished in 1946, and since then, it’s been a dynastic order given by the head of the former royal family, the House of Savoy.
When Vittoria was invested as a member of the order in October 2023, she became the very first woman to belong to its ranks. The honor was part of the recognition of Vittoria as her father and grandfather’s heir. As with so many former royal families, there are questions about who the rightful head of the House of Savoy really is. Many believe that, because Vittorio Emanuele and Marina’s marriage wasn’t approved by his father, Emanuele Filiberto and Vittoria aren’t eligible to inherit the house headship. Others disagree.
Emanuele Filiberto indicated last year that he planned to cede his succession rights to his elder daughter, but that hasn’t happened. Indeed, yesterday he released a statement asserting that he has “a duty to lead the House of Savoy,” stating that his father has left him “a great responsibility.” Of course, none of this is really relevant in practical terms where the monarchy is concerned, because there hasn’t been an Italian throne to inherit for almost 80 years.
Vittorio Emanuele was the second of four children of King Umberto and Queen Marie-José. The eldest of his three sisters, Maria Pia, was present for the funeral service on Saturday, wearing a classic strand of pearls and gold earrings set with black and white pearls. She also pinned the miniature ribbon and badge of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (another House of Savoy dynastic order) to her coat.
Several of Maria Pia’s children, including her sons Dimitri and Serge, were present for the funeral as well. Her younger sisters, Maria Gabriella and Maria Beatrice, were not well enough to travel to attend the service.
The other claimant to the headship of the House of Savoy was also present at Vittorio Emanuele’s funeral. Aimone of Savoy-Aosta and his wife, Olga, represented their branch of the family at the service. Aimone is the son of the late Amedeo of Savoy-Aosta and his French first wife, Claude of Orléans. Olga is a daughter of Prince Michael of Greece and Denmark, making her a cousin of several reigning royals, including King Charles III. She wore minimal jewelry for the service, but you’ll see a glimpse here of rings on both of her hands.
One of Aimone’s maternal first cousins, Charles Louis of Orléans, was also present for the funeral. Charles Louis is the son of Jacques of Orléans (elder brother of Claude, mother of Aimone). He attended the service with his wife Ileana Manos, who wore an elegant strand of black pearls. Ileana also occupies a very interesting place in the wider world of royalty. She’s a great-granddaughter of Konstantinos Manos, the Greek politician and Olympics organizer. Konstantinos’s niece, Aspasia Manos, was the wife of King Alexander of the Hellenes and mother of Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark (who married King Peter II of Yugoslavia).
There were more royals from formerly-reigning families in attendance as well. The great-great-grandson of King Ferdinando of the Two Sicilies, Carlo of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, attended with his elder daughter, Maria Carolina. (This is another family with a disputed headship. Carlo is one of the claimants. The other, Pedro, is a relative of the Spanish royal family. For a short time, they brokered an agreement over the inheritance of the house headship, but that détente was shortlived.) Maria Carolina wore a lovely pair of diamond and pearl earrings and a single strand of pearls for the service.
The Romanov family was also represented at the funeral. Victoria Romanovna Romanoff, daughter-in-law of one of the claimants to the headship of the House of Romanov, was present in Turin for the service. She was a natural choice to represent the family for this occasion, because she was born (as Rebecca Virginia Bettarini) in Rome to Italian parents. She chose simple but classic pearl earrings for the service.
There were also more members of non-reigning families in attendance, including Leka of Albania. There were also several royals from reigning families at the funeral, including Prince Albert II of Monaco and Prince Jean of Luxembourg. And we saw Queen Sofia, mother of King Felipe VI of Spain and sister of the late King Constantine II of Greece, attending the service as well. She also wore pearls for the occasion.