Thursday, December 10, 2009

Princess charms at Imperial Ball

December 10, 1969

Princess Maria Isabella of Savoy-Genoa was the guest of honor tonight at the 15th annual Imperial Ball at the Plaza Hotel's Grand Ballroom, reports the New York Times. The ball was actually a "pleasant enough dinner dance with the usual formally clad crowd of what are euphemistically known as the right people." The gala's primary focus is a fund-raiser for the Hospitalized Veterans Service of the Musicians Emergency Fund.

The Princess, 26, is the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Ancona, and is said to be an "expert horsewoman," who also plays the guitar and worked as a public relations associate for Air Express International Corporation in Rome.
Her parents live in Brazil, where they "cultivate coffee," rather than  have "chummy relationships with the International Set."

I've never sponsored anything like this before," she said. "It's quite a big responsibility I think."

Princess Maria Isabella wore a heavy white dress with pearl beading. In her long, dark hair, she wore an heirloom bracelet that doubled as a band of diamonds, "wide enough to pass for a tiara."

The princess is the only child of Prince Eugenio of Savoy, Duke of Ancona, and his wife, Princess Lucia of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. Eugenio is himself the youngest of Prince Tommaso of Savoy, Duke of Genoa, and Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria. He is the heir to the Dukedom of Genoa, as his brother, Filiberto, and his wife, Princess Lydia of Arenberg, do not have any sons. Filiberto succeeded to the title in 1963, following the death of the eldest son, Ferdinando, whose marriage was childless.

The Genoan line of the House of Savoy is a junior branch of the Italian royal family. Isabella's great-grandfather, Ferdinando, Duke of Genoa, was the younger brother of Vittorio Emmanuele II, King of Sardinia, who became king of Italy, in 1861.
Prince Tommaso's older sister, Margherita, married her first cousin, King Umberto I, who was assassinated in 1900.

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