Italian king’s heir apologises for monarchy’s Holocaust role

A descendant of Italy's wartime King Victor Emmanuel III has apologised to the country's Jewish community for his ancestor's role in dictator Mussolini's racial laws and the Holocaust.

Italian king's heir apologises for monarchy's Holocaust role
An archival picture of the Italian royal family in 1938 . Photo: AFP

“I condemn the 1938 racial laws, all of whose weight I still feel on my shoulders to this day, and with me the whole royal house,” 48-year-old Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy said of his great-grandfather.

Victor Emmanuel III had put his signature to an “unacceptable document”, he added in a letter posted to Facebook, “officially apologising” in the name of his family.

Almost 8,000 Italian Jews were deported from the country and murdered in Nazi extermination camps, most of them in Auschwitz.

Giving a TV interview alongside the letter, Emanuele Filiberto also vaunted his family's positive role in Italian unification and granting of equal rights to Jews from 1848.

Several Italian royals were themselves deported to Nazi concentration camps, he recalled.

After the war, Victor Emmanuel III abdicated in May 1946 and died the following year in Egypt.

His son Humbert II reigned for only a month before leaving for Switzerland when Italians opted for a republican constitution in a referendum.

Parliament only ended a constitutional ban on the House of Savoy's male heirs returning to Italy in 2002, after Emanuele Filiberto and his father Vittorio Emanuele swore loyalty to the republic.

The two men gave up on compensation claims demanding 260 million euros for their family's exile and the return of the royal family's confiscated property after a public outcry.

Emanuele Filiberto is married to French actress Clotilde Courau.


Member comments

  1. It wasn’t just that he “signed” the 1938 Laws in the Defense of Race, the Royal Seal was affixed to the laws and VEIII never lifted a finger to help the Jews of his country. Needless to say, his cowardly abandonment of Rome on September 9th 1943 with Badoglio was unforgivable. I hope the this apology appeared in places other than Facebook.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Swedish Royal Guards scrap ceremonial helmets over safety concerns

The King’s mounted Royal Guards will no longer be able to wear their iconic ceremonial helmets on parades, after the Swedish Work Environment Authority warned of serious safety concerns.

Swedish Royal Guards scrap ceremonial helmets over safety concerns

“We take the safety of our employees extremely seriously and we are going to address this immediately,” colonel Stefan Nacksten, head of the Royal Guards, wrote in a statement. 

Employed by the Armed Forces, the Royal Guards are the King’s cavalry and infantry units and are a well-known sight at ceremonies in Sweden, including at the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace of Stockholm every day in summer – a popular spectacle for Stockholmers and tourists alike.

The helmets will no longer be used by Royal Guards on horseback from July 7th, as they do not conform to safety standards for riding helmets, although guards parading on foot will still be permitted to wear them.

They are part of the 1895 parade uniforms and were last modified in 2000. The Armed Forces will now create an entirely new helmet which looks the part, but is also safe for riding.

“We’re working on finding an alternative solution as quickly as possible which meets safety requirements and can also be used during parades,” Nacksten said.

“We’ve been working long-term with this issue but now that it has been assessed [by the Swedish Work Environment Authority] we need to take measures immediately,” he added.

“This is good, and now we’re working to make sure something good comes out of this and we can get a safe riding helmet for parades in place as soon as possible.”