Sunday, May 27, 2012

Crown Princess Victoria To Receive the Galliera Inheritance

A Swedish magazine, Svenska Dagbladet, has reported that Prince Carl Philip of Sweden "has agreed to let the Galliera inheritance, which consists of an exquisite art collection and a financial fund, pass to his sister Crown Princess Victoria, although the Prince would be the legal inheritor according to the terms laid down by Emperor Napoléon I of the French." 

What Galliera possessions remain in the hands of the Swedish royal family, include: "some sixty Italian works," as well as "jewels of the Swedish royal collection." “Madonna with Child," a masterpiece by Piero de Cosimo is widely considered the greatest masterpiece of the Galliera collection. The trust fund that accompanies this inheritance "was worth millions already at the time of the death of King Gustaf VI Adolf in 1973"

The Dukedom of Galliera was an Italian title created in 1812 by Emperor Napoleon I and bestowed on the firstborn child of his stepson Eugene de Beauharnais, in this case Princess Josephine of Leuchtenberg.Modern-day Galliera is a city located in Province of Bologna, in the state of Emilia-Romagna.

Princess Josephine married Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden in 1823 when she was barely sixteen years old. With the future King Oscar I, Josephine had several children, among them: King Carl XV and King Oscar II. Josephine's three other children did not leave any offspring. Carl XV's only children Louise was married to King Frederik VIII of Denmark and brought a fabulous jewel collection as part of her personal property, not to mention the tremendous dowry and inheritance she received from her wealthy parents. Oscar II's descendants include the present Swedish monarch.

Management of the Duchy of Galliera posed a serious problem for Josephine and her husband. It's income was not worth the trouble caused by the demands involved in administering such a faraway possession. Thus soon after her marriage, Josephine began searching for a buyer. It took a decade and a half to find one.

In 1837 Marchese Raffaele de Ferrari (1803-1876) purchased the properties attached to the Dukedom of Galliera. One year later Pope Gregory XVI created de Ferrari "Duke of Galliera." In 1839, King Carlo Alberto of Sardinia confirmed the granted given by the Pope and also added the title of Prince of Lucedio.

Josephine had the works of art she owned at Galliera transferred to Sweden, along with the money made out of the sale. It was placed in trust and was to be inherited by for the oldest son of each generation of her descendants. Thus, It would go to future King Gustav V, then to his oldest son (Gustav VI Adolf), and from him to Gustav Adolf (who died before his father), then to King Carl XVI Gustav and from him to his son Carl Philip. However, the change of the Swedish succession law allowing absolute primogeniture denied Carl Philip the throne, as well as the position Queen Josephine had designed when it came to the Galliera inheritance. Had Carl Philip inherited the Galliera trust, it would have mandated that it break away from the main royal line. His renunciation has now corrected the situation.

The new Duke of Galliera, holder of a magnificent banking fortune which he made through the creation of the Crédit Immobilier de France (a rival to the Rothschild banking empire), married a French noblewoman by the name of Marie Brignole-Sale (1811-1888), by whom he had three children. Two of them died young. Their last remaining child, Philippe (Filippo), was born in 1850 and died in 1917. In the world of philately, he was well-known as the owner of perhaps the world's most complete stamp collection. He lived at the sumptuous Hôtel Matignon in Paris, now the official residence of the French Prime Minister. Marie Brignole-Sale was distantly related to the Princes of Monaco as well.

Philippe was also notorious for a quarrel with his mother, whom he accused of having been untrue to his father. Because of his suspicions, unfounded it seems, Philippe refused the use of the title of Duke of Galliera claiming that not being his father's son, he had no right to use the title, much less claim possession of any of its properties.

When Duchess Marie died in 1888 she left the bulk of the Galliera inheritance to her dear friend Prince Antoine d'Orléans, Duke de Montpensier, youngest son of King Louis Philippe of the French. Other royal friends received bequeaths from Duchess Marie, among them the Empress Friedrich, who used some of this windfall to finance the construction of her magnificent home, Schloß Friedrichshof.

The Galliera properties were sold by Infante don Antonio of Spain, Montpensier's only surviving son. They were used by Antonio to continue paying for the expenditures of his mistress, much to the detriment of his sons and wife. In fact, such was the financial dislocation brought about by Anotnio's mismanagement, that his eldest son the Infante don Alfonso (who was married to Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh) took his father to court in an effort to declare Antonio incompetent. By the time Infante Antonio's misdeeds were out an end to, little remained of this once phenomenally amazing fortune.

The Duke de Montpensier was recognized as Duke of Galliera by King Umberto I of Italy. In 1890 when Antoine died, he was succeeded by his son Antonio, who held the title until 1930. From that year and until 1975 the Infante don Alfonso was also the Duke of Galliera, his son Alvaro inheriting the title that year. Alvaro died in 1997 and was succeeded by his own grandson Alfonso, who is the present holder of the Orléans creation of the Duchy of Galliera.

 Queen Josephine of Sweden
(Duchess of Galliera)

 King Oscar I of Sweden
(Duke Consort of Galliera)

 Prince Antoine d'Orléans, Duke de Montpensier, Infante
of Spain, 1st Duke of Galliera (Orleans creation)

 Infante don Alfonso of Spain, 2nd Duke of Galliera

 Infante don Alfonso of Spain, 3rd Duke of Galliera, holding his son
Prince Alvaro de Orleans, 4th Duke of Galliera

Prince don Alfonso de Orleans, Fifth Duke of Galliera


Los Desconocidos Infantes de España, by Ricardo Mateos Saínz de Medrano
Los Infantes de Andalucía, by Ricardo Mateos Saínz de Medrano
Various Issues of the EuroHistory Journal
Le Cousinage – The Descendants of the Other Count of Paris, by Arturo E. Beéche

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