Friday, March 26, 2010

Italian royal children look forward to former President Roosevelt's visit

March 26, 1910

The Italian royal children are "looking forward with the utmost impatience" to meeting the former American president, Theodore Roosevelt, who is expected to arrive in Rome in a few days.
The King of Italy has four children, Princess Yolanda, 9, Princess Mafalda, 8, Crown Prince Umberto, 6, and 3-year-old Princess Giovanna. The children "are admitted to companionship with their parents to an unusual degree for royal youngsters."
The children are naturally curious as to "how many and what wild beasts" Roosevelt will bring with him, and where will he house his menagerie when he is Rome. Crown Prince Umberto wants the "wild creatures, especially if they are tigers," to stay in the Quirinal's gardens. He thinks it would be great fun to play with the cubs, but "he could shoot them if they attacked his sisters."
Yolanda did not like this idea, considering it to be too dangerous, and she would not like to "meet a lion or a bear when she turned an "innocent-looking corner" in the garden.
The royal children decided that the president could bring the cubs, by the adult beasts would have to stay "by invitation at the Vatican's garden with the Pope's lions," which were a gift from the King of Abyssinia.
There were a lot of tears when Queen Elena told the children that they might not get to meet "the hunter" as they called the President. Their "wailings were so loud" that Elena took pity on them, and promised to try an arrange a meeting.
The children's English nurse heard a conversation by the children, which she related to a friend.
Prince Umberto: "Well, I for my part would rather be a hunger than a King."
Princess Yolanda: "Umberto, how can you? To be a King is to be master of the world."
Prince Umberto: "I don't care. You can be a Queen when you grow up, and I shall be like the hunter."
Princess Mafalda: "But, Umberto, why don't you be both. The hunger is a Prince, too."
Umberto: "No, No, no." One can presume that the heir apparent to the Italian throne punctuated his comments with the stomping of his feet. "I shall tell papa tonight I shall not be a King, but shall be a hunter, and then and be President of the United States so I can live with my animals."
Princess Yolanda: "Well, then, you are no brother of mine, and I shall be Queen and I shall have all your animals shot and ..."
It was at this time that the children's nurse walked into the nursery to try and prevent royal tantrums and tears.

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