Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Seventieth Anniversary of the Death of the 3rd Duke of Aosta

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the death (3 March 1942), among his soldiers, of the Viceroy of Ethiopia: HRR Prince Amedeo of Savoy, third Duke of Aosta, Hero of Amba Alagi. The Italian Monarchist Union flag bows to the memory of his exemplary figure and will remember him with a series of initiatives that will document his civilian and military virtues. HRH Prince Amedeo, present Duke of Aosta, traveled to Kenya, where his uncle is buried, to attended a solemn religious ceremony in the Third Duke of Aosta's memory. Honour and glory to one of the most beautiful characters in the history of Italy.

The Council of Senators of the Kingdom bowed to the memory of HRH Prince Amedeo of Savoy, on the 70th of his death (Nairobi, March 3, 1942), and pointed to his shining example. Amedeo was born in Turin on 21 October 1898 as the oldest son of Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, 2nd Duke of Aosta, and his wife, the former Princess Hélène d'Orléans, herself the daughter of the Count of Paris, claimant to the French throne. Amedeo had one brother, Prince Aimone, Duke of Spoleto, 4th Duke of Aosta, King of Croatia, who was the father of the current Duke of Aosta, Amedeo, thus named after his late uncle.
The 3rd Duke of Aosta was a national hero. He earned three Military Valour decorations during the Great War, led memorable travels throughout Africa, and performed high responsibilities at the top of the Armed Forces during the reign of his cousin Vittorio Emanuele III. Aosta personified an outstanding model of fidelity to the Monarchy and Italy.

Amedeo was Viceroy of Ethiopia. At the beginning of the war (1940) Amedeo held the general command of the Italian Armed Forces in East Africa. From the outbreak of the conflict, Amedeo believed Italy lacked the resources to sustain a conflict of this size. After putting a valiant defense against overwhelming enemy forces, Amedeo was forced to capitulate in May 1941. Once relieved of his powers, Amedeo was placed under arrest by the English. He died the following year while still in captivity.
Historians argue about what role he played before and during the war, a role that would have likely prevented Italy from facing and "unconditional surrender" in 1943. 
Prince Amedeo married in Naples (5 November 1927) Princess Anne d'Orléans (1906-1986), third daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Guise. Anne and Amedeo were first cousins through their maternal lines as their mothers were sisters, both daughters of the Count and Countess of Paris. Amedeo and Anne were the parents of two daughters: Margherita (b. 1930), who in 1953 married Archduke Robert of Austria-Este, the second son of Emperor Karl and Empress Zita of Austria; and Maria Cristina (b. 1933), who in 1967 married Prince Casimiro of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. 
Among Amedeo and Anne's grandchildren are: Archduke Lorenz, who is married to Princess Astrid of Belgium, daughter of King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians; Maria Beatrice, who is married to Count Riprand von Arco-Zinneberg; and Martin, who married Princess Katharina of Isenburg, herself the sister of Fürstin Isabelle of Wied and Princess Sophie of Prussia. 

The Duchess of Aosta, Anne, survived her husband by forty-four years. She passed away in Sorrento, Italy, in 1986.

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