Victor Emmanuel, who left Italy when he was nine, and his 30-year-old son Emmanuel Filiberto, who had never before set foot on Italian soil
Photo: © AFP
Click on the photos to enlarge

The focus of their brief visit was a private audience with the Pope, after which the family returned to their home in Switzerland
Photo: © PA

23 DECEMBER 2002
The son of Italy’s last king set foot on Italian soil for the first time in his adult life today, saying “I cannot find words to express my feelings.”

Victor Emmanuel of Savoy, who left Italy when he was nine years old, flew into Rome’s Ciampino airport on a surprise lightning visit made possible by the lifting earlier this year of a post-war ban on male members of the former royal family returning to their homeland.

The family was exiled in 1946 for collaborating with Mussolini’s fascist regime. One of the conditions of the lifting of the ban was that the former royals swear loyalty to the Italian republic. There was, then, some criticism of the fact that Victor Emmanuel chose to seek an audience with the Pope on his first visit rather than a meeting with the Italian president.

However, “We are Catholic and I am returning to my country which, with the Pope, is the seat of Catholicism,” explained Victor Emmanuel. “The first thing I do is see the Pope, then we shall see all the others.”

After the audience with the Pope, Victor Emmanuel, together with his wife Marine Doria and their son Emmanuel Filiberto, returned to Switzerland where they live. Emmanuel Filiberto, 30, had never before been in Italy.

Profile on...
Crown Prince Felipe
Gest sues Liza for $10 million

Rock stars heed Mandela's call to fight Aids

Athina and Alvaro take a break in Uruguay

Girls Aloud star Cheryl convicted of assault

Liz Hurley supports Mario Testino's Kids

Robert De Niro diagnosed with cancer

Burrell book renews interest in Diana crash

Pammy and Tommy step out for Scary Movie

Frederik and Mary's first royal engagement

European royals on the go in Syria and Denmark

Gwyneth acknowledges struggle with depression

Eminem case dismissed by rapping judge

Make your home page | Advertising in the magazine | Advertising on the website | Disclaimer

© 2001-2007, HELLO! All rights reserved.