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European Royals

Italian Pretender reveals promise of return of royal family was a spoof

He might not have a throne but he has a good sense of humour. Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, Prince of Venice and a claimant to the long defunct Italian throne has revealed that the video he released on Thursday promising the return of the royal family wasn’t actually about bringing monarchy back to his country. Instead, it was a trailer for series three of ‘The Crown’.

Emanuele Filiberto had appeared in a thirty second video which was broadcast on Italian TV late last week and on social media channels in which he said: “Good evening to all Italians. I have a duty to officially announce the return of the royal family. It is time to return, to ensure the peace, confidence and elegance that are needed more than ever today. Guided by a strong sense of duty, the Royal Family aims to protect civilians and to look to the future with renewed optimism. Thanks, everyone. The Royal Family is coming back.”

However, on Friday a longer version of the film was released, showing Emaneuele Filiberto reading the same message before adding ”obviously, the English” with a smile. An image of Olivia Colman, who plays the Queen in the new season of the Netflix hit, then appears before the details of the programme come up on screen in Italian.

The message began a debate about whether the prince was really planning a return for his ruling royal house which came to an end in 1946 with the abdication of his grandfather, King Umberto II, after a reign of just over a month. Umberto gave up the Italian throne after a referendum showing overwhelming support for Italy to become a republic. His own father, King Vittorio Emanuele III, had been criticised for his actions during the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini who he had appointed as Prime Minister following the March on Rome in 1922. It led to a rapid decline in the popularity of the royal family which Umberto was unable to stem.

Given the reaction to the original video, hinting that the House of Savoy might be ready to take the throne again, Emanuele Filibeto may have made the right decision. Within hours of the film appearing on social media, users from across Italy had responded saying they didn’t want a monarchy, some in more polite terms than others. A recent survey put support for an Italian monarchy at just 15% in the country.

However, the response to the revelation the film was a spoof was far more favourable with social media users praising it and the prince for pulling off such a good joke.

Emanuele Filiberto is the only son of Vittorio Emanuele, the only son of Umberto II. Vittorio Emaneule is the Savoy claimant to the throne of Italy. Amadeo, Duke of Aosta and a third cousin of Vittorio Emanuele also says he is the rightful King of Italy.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.