Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Italian royals enjoy summer domesticity

July 22, 1907

The summer is the favorite time of the year for the Italian Royal Family, reports the New York Times.   King Vittorio Emanuele and Queen Elena are "exceptionally domestic and think of having their children exclusively for themselves, as they do in the Summer."  This is their "greatest happiness."  Their three young children are "overjoyed to having their papa and mamma to play with."

The Italian royal family are spending their summer at the Castel Racconigi in northern Italy.  Queen Elena is in "delicate health for the moment."   The King "plays nurse," and is spending his days teaching his children how to play tennis,  "how to shoot in the direction of tennis, driving for Princess Jolanda, and ball running" for the two younger children, Princess Mafalda and Crown Prince Umberto.

Six-year-old Princess Jolanda has been told that the stork will bring a new brother or a sister.  After first, the young princess "indignantly repudiated" the idea as "a baby like that couldn't hold on," she was eventually convinced that the new baby would be "carried under one wing to keep it warm."

Little Jolanda has told her mother "to keep a certain window every night, so that the stork might get easily in," and it is "one of her nightly duties" to make sure that the window is open.

King Vittorio Emanuele "is very anxious for another son.  He knows the "dangerous of royal life only too well," as his father was assassinated in 1900.  He "desires to have two or three sons" so that the succession may be secure "no matter what happens." 

The Italian succession is based on Salic law, which forbid the succession of women.  The young Crown Prince is a "sturdy fellow, standing firmly on two fat legs, self-willed, but looking one squarely in the eye.  He is said to be a firm favorite of his grandmother, the Dowager Queen Margherita.

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