King of Sardinia
Other names: Carlo Alberto Amedeo
Other Titles and Honours
Titular King of Cyprus, 1831-49†
Titular King of Jerusalem, 1831-49†
Titular King of Armenia, 1831-49†
7th Principe di Carignano, 1800
Titular 21st Duca di Savoia,1831-49†
Viceroy of Sardinia, 1829
Regent of Sardinia, 1821 (one week)
Charles Albert was educated in France, and on the fall of Napoleon I, he returned to Piedmont. On the partition of Italy by the treaties of 1815, Geneva, Piedmont, and Sardinia went to the house of Savoy. Against this partition of Italy among foreign rulers, however, the spirit of Italian nationality rebelled, and the association of the Carbonari spread over the whole peninsula, and penetrated all ranks of society. It was arranged that Naples should commence the revolution, and that Piedmont should follow up the movement. Both states were then to unite to expel the common enemy, Austria. The Piedmontese carbonari affiliated Charles Albert, and accepted him as leader of the constitutional movement. The revolutions in Naples and Piedmont were both successful, and the Spanish constitution was proclaimed in all the important cities of the two kingdoms. As regent of Sardinia, Charles Albert swore fidelity to the constitution. Terrified, however, by the proclamation with which the new king heralded his arrival at Turin, he fled secretly at midnight to Novara, then, after a conference with the general of King Charles Felix's forces, to Milan. Three years later, and having borne arms in Spain against the very constitution he had conspired to establish and sworn to maintain in Piedmont, King Charles Felix permitted him to return to his country.
When Charles Albert ascended the throne in 1831, the secret association of 'Young Italy' was founded by Mazzini, already an exile, at Marseilles. Its aim being the overthrow of all the existing Italian governments, for the creation of the unity of Italy by means of a war of the whole people, it was even more dreaded by the princes of Italy than Carbonarism. The edicts of Charles Albert condemned to the galleys all guilty of perusing or possessing the journal of the association. In 1833, an accident
revealed to the government a trace of the vast conspiracy, and indiscriminate arrests commenced, and fresh discoveries were the result.
In 1847 the Sicilian revolution broke out, not only in the name of reform and constitution, but of 'Italy and Nationality', cries which were instantly echoed in every comer of Italy. Rome, Tuscany, and even Naples arose, and obliged their sovereigns to grant them representative governments and a national guard. Not until all the other princes of Italy had yielded, and only when longer resistance was impossible, did Charles Albert concede to the threats of his subjects the constitution that he had denied them.
In 1848, the Austrians were expulsed from Milan, the news of which brought great excitement to the Piedmontese. They demanded to be led against the Austrians, and threatened to overthrow the government in case of a refusal. The king was compelled to yield, but before crossing the frontier, he addressed despatches to the governments of Europe, and especially to England, protesting that the step was taken under compulsion and in order to save his crown, as the republic would inevitably be proclaimed were he to delay. The Austrians, disorganized by their defeat at Milan, acted merely on the defensive, and fled. Once the Austrian general, Radetsky, resumed the offensive, the king was defeated in two engagements, and obliged to make a precipitate retreat on Milan. An armistice was eventually signed with the Austrians, but after that expired and the war resumed, the defeat of the Piedmontese was rapid and complete. The king again demanded an armistice, but the terms offered by Radetsky were so humiliating, that Charles Albert preferred to abdicate rather than submit. He immediately retired to Portugal and spent his last days there.
Place of birth: Paris
Place of marriage: Florence
Place of death: Oporto, Portugal
1. H. Montgomery-Massingberd, ed. Burke's Royal Families of the World. Volume I: Europe & Latin America. London: Burke’s Peerage Ltd., 1977.
2. K.M. Setton, ed. A History of the Crusades, vol. 2. Wisconsin: Princeton University of Wisconsin Press, 1969.
3. Thomas, J. The Universal Dictionary of Biography and Mythology, vol. 1 [part 1]. London: J.S. Virtue & Co., Limited, 1887.
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