Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Royal engagement: Italy-Bourbon-Parma

November 14, 1938

Princess Maria of Italy, the youngest child of King Vittorio Emanuele of Italy, is to marry Prince Louis of Bourbon-Parma, according to the official announcement made earlier today.

The Princess, 24 next month, is the youngest of five children.    Her fiance, Prince Louis, who turns 39 next month, is the 15th of 18 children of Duke Roberto I of Parma.  He is a brother of former Empress Zita of Austria, whose eldest son, Archduke Otto, who was often linked with Maria.

Prince Louis has been a frequent visitor to his sister's estate near Viareggio, Italy.  The Royal family has a summer home at San Rossore, which is close to Viareggio.  It was at Viareggio where Maria and Louis first met.  After "seeing a great deal of each other for a number of years," Louis finally decided to ask Maria to marry him, reports the New York Times.

In the past few years, Princess Maria has been reported engaged to Prince Sigvard of Sweden and Archduke Otto.  "Rumor, mingled perhaps with high politics" also brought her name in connection with the divorced King Carol II of Romania.    Tongues also wagged when Prince Kyril of Bulgaria visited the Italian royal family at Sam Rossore in 1932. 

Prince Kyril's brother, King Boris, is married to Maria's older sister, Giovanna.

But the most persistent rumors centered on a marriage between Archduke Otto and Princess Maria.  The rumors lasted for eight years, despite the damper "cast over those reports in 1933," with a statement published in Mussolini's newspaper, Popolo d'Italia, which described the rumors to be "colossally absurd." 

"The news that Master Otto is against racism leaves us completely indifferent. Fascism has such a doctrine, force, novelty and future that it can't enter the petrified brain of this relic of the past."

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