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Umberto II
King of Italy
(1904–83)


Other names: Umberto Nicola Tommaso Giovanni Maria

Biographical

King of Italy 1946 abd.
King of Sardinia 1946 abd.
Titular King of Cyprus 1946 abd.
Titular King of Jerusalem 1946 abd.
Titular King of Armenia 1946 abd.
25th Duca di Savoia 1946–83†
11th Principe di Carignano 1946 abd.
Principe di Piemonte, courtesy 1904–46; 1946 abd.
Prince of the Holy Roman Empire
Principe di Oneglia 1946 abd.
Principe di Poirino 1946 abd.
Principe di Trino 1946 abd.
Prince de Montmélian 1946 abd.
Principe di Chieri 1946 abd.
Principe di Busca 1946 abd.
Principe di Bene 1946 abd.
Principe di Brà 1946 abd.
Principe di Crescentino 1946 abd.
Principe di Dronero 1946 abd.
Principe di Riva 1946 abd.
Principe di Banna 1946 abd.
Duca di Aosta 1946 abd.
Duca di Genova 1946 abd.
Duca del Monferrato 1946 abd.
Duc de Genevois 1946 abd.
Duca di Piacenza 1946 abd.
Duca di Carignano Ivoy 1946 abd.
Duc de Chablais 1946 abd.
Marchese di Saluzzo 1946 abd.
Marchese di Ivrea 1946 abd.
Marchese di Susa 1946 abd.
Marchese di Oristano 1946 abd.
Marchese di Cesena 1946 abd.
Marchese in Italia 1946 abd.
Marquis de Tarantaise 1946 abd.
Marchese di Borgomanero 1946 abd.
Marchese di Cureggio 1946 abd.
Marchese di Caselle 1946 abd.
Marchese di Govone 1946 abd.
Marchese di Saluzzola 1946 abd.
Marchese di Racconigi 1946 abd.
Marchese di Savona 1946 abd.
Marchese di Modane 1946 abd.
Marquis de Lanslebourg 1946 abd.
Marquis of Pianezza 1946 abd.
Marquis of Rivoli 1946 abd.
Marchese di Cavallermaggiore 1946 abd.
Marchese di Marene 1946 abd.
Marchese di Centalo 1946 abd.
Marchese di Demonte 1946 abd.
Marchese di Denzana 1946 abd.
Marchese di Livorno Ferraris 1946 abd.
Marchese di Santhià 1946 abd.
Marchese d'Aglié 1946 abd.
Marchese di Ceva 1946 abd.
Marchese di Maro 1946 abd.
Marchese di Ghenna or Ghemme? 1946 abd.
Marchese di Villafranca 1946 abd.
Marchese di Vigone 1946 abd.
Comte de Nice 1946 abd.
Comte de Romont 1946 abd.
Comte de Maurienne 1946 abd.
Comte de Genevre 1946 abd.
Conte di Asti 1946 abd.
Conte di Tenda 1946 abd.
Conte di Goceano 1946 abd.
Conte di Alessandria 1946 abd.
Conte di Novara 1946 abd.
Conte or prince? di Carmagnola 1946 abd.
Conte di Tortona 1946 abd.
Conte di Bobbio 1946 abd.
Comte de Soissons 1946 abd.
Conte di Sant'Antioco 1946 abd.
Conte di Roccabruna 1946 abd.
Conte di Tricerro 1946 abd.
Conte di Bairo 1946 abd.
Conte di Oregno 1946 abd.
Conte delle Apertole 1946 abd.
Conte di Villafranca 1946 abd.
Conte de Barge 1946 abd.
Baron de Vaud 1946 abd.
Baron de Faucigny 1946 abd.
Signore di Pinerolo 1946 abd.
Seigneur de Monaco? 1946 abd.
Seigneur de Arbin 1946 abd.
Seigneur de Francin 1946 abd.
Signore di Roccabruna 1946 abd.
Consignore di Mentone 1946 abd.
Signore di Vercelli 1946 abd.
Signore di Lomellina 1946 abd.
Signore di Valsesia 1946 abd.
Signore di Tegerone 1946 abd.
Signore di Migliabruna 1946 abd.
Signore di Motturone 1946 abd.
Patrician of Venice
Patrician of Ferrara
Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece
Knight of the Order of the Seraphin
Knight of the Order of Leopold
Knight of the Order of Carlos I
Knight of the Order of Carlos III
Knight of the Orders of St Ciryllus and St Metodio
Bailee Grand Cross of the Military Order of Malta [VAT]
Bailee Grand Cross of the Constantinian Order of St George
27th Sovereign and Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Annunciation [ITA]
Grand Master of the Orders of Saint Maurice and Saint Lazarus [ITA]
Grand Master of the Crown of Italy [ITA]
Grand Master of the Civil Order of Savoy [ITA]

Lieutenant general of the Kingdom of Italy 1944–46
Marshal of Italy 1942
General

Umberto was educated in the usual tradition of the House of Savoy, through private tutors, coordinated by Admiral Attilio Bonaldi. During the First World although a child, he participated in patriotic demonstrations and parades, and had a role in boosting the morale of the troops and general public. In 1916 he was allowed to join his father at the front, and his carried out his duties efficiently and with courage. He completed his military training in 1916 and he was appointed a lieutenant of the 91st regiment of the Basilicata brigade at Turin. Residing at the Royal Palace, he led a carefree life, and was frequently a source for gossip columnists. Because of his increasingly popularity and political importance, Mussolini had him monitored by the secret police. Umberto was in fact religious and he made a journey to the Holy Land in 1928. In 1929 he escaped an attempt on his life at Brussels. After his marriage to Marie José of Belgium, the royal couple were very popular, much to the chagrin of Mussolini. In truth, the couple was ill-matched popularity increased, and although Umberto was generally anti-German and anti-fascist in private, Marie José was openly liberal. When Italy entered the war in 1940 Umberto was given command of the armies at he French border, but the Fascist regime refused to give him any positions of importance and visibility. In 1942 he was given command of the southern armies, and was sent to Anagni: another role of little importance. Given no prospect of playing any role in the war, Umberto increasingly aligned himself with his wife's ideas, and was becoming more opposed to the regime. Opposition to the regime in Italy grew, but Umberto and Maria José did not play any active role. Their children were sent to Switzerland for their safety , and their mother soon followed. Umberto opposed his father abandoning the capital after the signing of the armistice on the 8th of September 1943, but he had no choice but to follow him. He was appointed lieutenant general of the kingdom by his father in June 1944, and Umberto displayed an openness and willingness to collaborate with the Allies and anti-fascist bodies. That month he accepted the resignation of the Badoglio government, paving the way for a more democratic replacement, and signed a degree for preparations for the election of a Constituent Assembly to choose the new form of state, and the formation of a new constitution. In March 1946 another decree was signed for the elections of a Constituent Assembly and a referendum on the future of the monarchy. Umberto behaved in a commendable manner during the period leading up to his father's abdication, but as king, he lacked charisma and personality, and his character was not suitable in the face of the fierce competition of the referendum. Additionally, the monarchist front was weak, and victory went to republicans. Umberto did not accept the decision until the Supreme Court announced its ruling. Umberto refused to abdicate, and after issuing a bitter proclamation, he left Italy for Portugal in voluntary exile, and reunited with his wife and children there. By 1947 he had separated from his wife, and his relationship with his children became strained. After the republic was installed, the King's exile acquired the force of law, but Umberto declared that he had intended to return to Italy, as he intended to contribute to the peace and reconstruction of Italy. towards the end of his life, he expressed his desire to die in Italy, and the Pope intervened with the Italian government to repeal the law pertaining to his exile, but Umberto died before the process was completed.

Place of birth: Castle of Rocconigi
Place of marriage: Rome
Place of death: Geneva
Place of burial: Abbey of Hautecombe, Savoy

Son of King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy, and Princess Elena of Montenegro (Petrovic-Njegos). He married Princess Marie José of Belgium (Saxe-Coburg) in 1930, and had issue.


 

Sources

1. Dizionario biografico degli Italiani, vol. 97. Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2020.
2. Società Genealogica Italiana. Enciclopedia Genealogica del Mediterraneo. 2005–2018.
3. Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, ed. Burke's Royal Families of the World. Volume I: Europe & Latin America. London: Burke’s Peerage Ltd., 1977.

 

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