Tuesday, June 1, 2021

HRH Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta (1943-2021)


HRH Prince Amadeo Umberto Constantino Giorgio Paolo Maria Fiorenzo, 5th Duke of Aosta, died today after suffering a heart attack at San Donato Hospital in Arezzo, Italy.  He was was 77 years old.

The Duke of Aosta, who headed the Aosta branch of the Italian Royal Family, had undergone surgery in Milan earlier this year for the removal of a tumor on his kidney.  On May 27, he was admitted to the hospital for a minor procedure, a success.    He was scheduled to be released today but suffered a fatal heart attack during the night, according to the Italian newspaper, Repubblica.

He was born at Villa Della Cisterna in Florence  Florence on September 27, 1943.  His father, Prince Aimone, Duke of Spoleto, was named King Tomislav II of Croatia by his cousin, King Vittorio Emanuele III, in May 1941.  Although he never visited Croatia, Aimone was considered the sovereign until the King asked him to abdicate on July 31, 1943, after the fall of Italy's Fascist government.  Aimone, according to Count Ciano's diary, was "proud of having been chosen King of Croatia, but has no exact idea of what he is supposed to do and is vaguely uneasy about it."   The Duke of Spoleto succeeded his older brother,  Prince Amedeo, the father of two daughters, as Duke of Aosta on March 3, 1942.  The late duke had died in a British prisoner of war camp.

Irene remained in their Florentine residence even though the area was subjected to Allied bombing,  She gave birth prematurely to her only son, who was given the title Duke of Puglia.  Amedeo later revealed that soon after his birth, his mother had him fingerprinted by the police in case he was kidnapped.  

The new prince was given an "emergency baptism" due to being born eighteen days too early.  Two days after his birth, the Royal Chaplain arrived at the villa, but before "the water was applied or the blessing given, wrote Edward Hanson in The Wandering Princess, as another "air raid commenced.  Aimone was not officially baptized until he was six years old and able to "make his own baptismal promises."

Only July 26, 1944,. Heinrich Himmler ordered Amedeo, his mother, and the widowed Duchess of Aosta and her two young daughters, Princesses Margherita and Maria Cristina, deported to a concentration camp in Hirschegg, near Graz in Austria.   The family was liberated from the camp in May 1945.  Irene and her son lived for several weeks in Switzerland before returning to Italy to live.  It was in Milan, where Aimone met his nearly 2-year-old son for the first time.

After a referendum that ended the Italian monarchy in June 1946,  Aimone and Irene planned to settle in Belgium but the Belgium government made it clear that the Aostas would not be welcome.  Irene and Amedeo returned to Switzerland, and the Duke of Aosta flew to South America, where he planned to settle in Argentina.  

He died in Buenos Aires in January 1948.

Amedeo, only 4 1/2 years old, succeeded his father as Duke of Aosta.  He and his mother returned to Florence to live as he was not affected by this clause in the Italian constitution: "Access and sojourn in the national territory shall be forbidden to the ex-kings of the House of Savoy, their spouses, and their male descendants."

The wedding of Princess Irene of Greece & Denmark (1904-1974) and Prince Aimone, Duke of Savoy (1900-1948)

The young Duke studied at the Collegio alle Querce in Florence and Seaford College in England before attending the Morosini Naval College in Venice.   He received a degree in political science from the University of Florence.

For some years,  the Duke of Aosta managed the family estate in Il Borro in Arezzo

He was married twice.  His first wife was Princess Claude of Orléans, whom he had first met in May 1962 at the wedding of then Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark, one of Amedeo's first cousins.  More than 300 people attended the wedding, including former King Umberto of Italy, which took place at Sao Pedro de Sintra, on July 22, 1964.

The couple had three children:  HRH Princess Bianca Irene Elena Isabella Fiorenza Maria of Savoy (1966)  HRH Prince Aimone Umberto Emanuele Filiberto Luigi, Amedeo Gustavo Elena Maria Fiorenzo of Savoy, Duke of Puglia (1967) and HRH Princess Mafalda Giovanna Shams Maria Fiorenza Isabella of Savoy (1969).

This marriage ended in divorce in 1982 and was annulled four years later.   On March 30, 1987, at Bagheria, near Palermo,  the Duke of Aosta married Marchesa Donna Silvia Paterno di Spedalotto.  Financial reasons forced the Duke to sell the 1,700-acre property to Ferruccio Ferragamo in 1993.

He and his wife moved to San Rocco in Castiglion Fibocchi, where he owned a wine company,  Vini Savoia Aosta.

The wedding of HRH Princess Claudia of Orléans and the Duke of Aosta.  They married on July 22, 1964

The wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Aosta (1987)

The Duke of Aosta is survived by his wife, Silvia, five children and eleven grandchildren (Viola, Vera, Mafalda, Maddalena, and Leonardo, the children of Princess Bianca and her husband, Count Giberto Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga,  TRH Prince Umberto, Duke of Puglia,  Prince Amedeo and Princess Isabella of Savoy, the children of Prince Aimone, Duke of Aosta and his wife, Princess Olga of Greece, and Anna, Carlo Ferrante and Elena Lombardo di Chirico, the children of Princess Mafalda and her husband Francesco Lombardo di Chirico.

The late duke also has a natural daughter, Ginevera Maria Gabriella Beatrice van Ellinkhuizen (2006) by Kyara vn Ellinkhuisen.  He is also the biological father of Pietro Incisa della Rochetta (1967) whose mother, Donna Nerina Corsini (1942-2014) married Enrico Incisa della Rochetta in 1961.  Nerina's mother, Elena was one of Princess Irene's ladies-in-waiting.

The funeral will be held on Friday 4 June, at 11.30 am, in the abbey of San Miniato al Monte in Florence.

Prince Aimone, 6th Duke of Aosta has lived in Russia since 2000 when he became president of Pirelli Tires' operations in Russia.  In 2012, he was named as CEO of Pirelli Tyre's Nordic division.

The Duke of Aosta and Princess   Irina of Romania   Bucharest 2011

 Bucharest 2011

The Margrave of Baden and The Duke of Aosta  Bucharest 2011

Crown Princess Margareta and the Duke of Aosta  Bucharest 2011

The Duke of Aosta and Princess Ilona of Schaumburg-Lippe 

all the Bucharest photos: @Marlene A Eilers Koenig


The Duke of Aosta was a descendant of Queen Victoria.   

Victoria - Victoria - Sophie - Irene - Amedeo.

He was a first cousin of King Michael of Roumania,  Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia. and King Constantine II of the Hellenes.

I corresponded for many years with the Duke of Aosta and was delighted to finally meet him in Bucharest in October 2011 for King Michael's 90th birthday celebrations.

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