Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy

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Maria Gabriella
Princess of Savoy
Maria Gabriella of Savoy 1960.jpg
Maria Gabriella of Savoy in 1960
Born (1940-02-24) 24 February 1940 (age 79)
Naples, Kingdom of Italy
Robert Zellinger de Balkany
(m. 1969;div. 1990)
IssueMarie Elizabeth Zellinger de Balkany
Full name
Maria Gabriella Giuseppa Aldegonda Adelaide Ludovica Felicità Gennara di Savoia
House Savoy
Father Umberto II of Italy
Mother Marie-José of Belgium

Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy (Maria Gabriella Giuseppa Aldegonda Adelaide Ludovica Felicita Gennara; born 24 February 1940) is the middle daughter of Italy's last king, Umberto II, and Marie José of Belgium, the "May Queen", and a sister of the pretender to their father's throne, Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples. She is a historical writer.

Umberto II of Italy last king of Italy

Umberto II was the last King of Italy. He reigned for 34 days, from 9 May 1946 to 12 June 1946, although he had been de facto head of state since 1944, and was nicknamed the May King.

Marie José of Belgium Italian queen

Marie José of Belgium was the last Queen of Italy. Her 35-day tenure as queen consort earned her the nickname "the May Queen".

Pretender someone who claims a relation to a throne

A pretender is one who maintains or is able to maintain a claim that they are entitled to a position of honour or rank, which may be occupied by an incumbent, or whose powers may currently be exercised by another person or authority. Most often, it refers to a former monarch, or descendant thereof, whose throne is occupied or claimed by a rival or has been abolished.



Maria Gabriella di Savoia was the third child of the Prince and Princess of Piedmont, born in Naples, Italy in 1940. [1] Her older siblings were Princess Maria Pia and Prince Vittorio Emanuele, while the younger was Princess Maria Beatrice. [2] Her parents, married since 1930, were unhappy together, as her mother confessed in an interview many years later (On n'a jamais été heureux, "We were never happy")[ citation needed ], and separated after the Italian monarchy was abolished following the 1946 referendum. To avoid capture by Nazi troops her mother had fled Italy to neutral Switzerland with Maria Gabriella and her siblings, where they took refuge from September 1943 until their return to Italy in 1945, by which time their father had become lieutenant-general of the kingdom for his father, King Victor Emmanuel III. Exiled after the fall of the monarchy, the family gathered briefly in Portugal, whence she, her sisters and brother soon returned with their mother to Switzerland, while their father remained in the Portuguese Riviera. [2] Being Catholics, her parents never divorced.

Naples Comune in Campania, Italy

Naples is the regional capital of Campania and the third-largest municipality in Italy after Rome and Milan. In 2017, around 967,069 people lived within the city's administrative limits while its province-level municipality has a population of 3,115,320 residents. Its continuously built-up metropolitan area is the second or third largest metropolitan area in Italy and one of the most densely populated cities in Europe.

Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon-Parma Italian princess

Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon-Parma is the eldest daughter of Umberto II of Italy and Marie-José of Belgium. She is the older sister of Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy, Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples, and Princess Maria Beatrice of Savoy.

Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples Italian prince

Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy, The Prince of Naples is the only son of Umberto II, the last King of Italy and his wife Queen Marie-José. Vittorio Emanuele also uses the title Duke of Savoy and claims the headship of the House of Savoy. These claims are disputed by supporters of his third cousin, Prince Amedeo, 5th Duke of Aosta.

Educated in Switzerland, Maria Gabriella also took courses at a school associated with the Louvre in Paris. [2] After her father's death, and with her brother's approval, she launched the King Umberto II Foundation in Lausanne, dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of the House of Savoy. [2] She participated in numerous cultural presentations and organized an exhibit in Albertville during the 1992 Olympics. [2] At the beginning of the 21st century she co-authored a number of books, mostly with Stefano Papi.

Louvre Art museum and Historic site in Paris, France

The Louvre, or the Louvre Museum, is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the city's 1st arrondissement. Approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres. In 2018, the Louvre was the world's most visited art museum, receiving 10.2 million visitors.

Lausanne Capital city of the canton of Vaud, Switzerland

Lausanne is the capital city and biggest town of the canton of Vaud in Romandy, Switzerland. A municipality, it is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva. It faces the French town of Évian-les-Bains, with the Jura Mountains to its north-west. Lausanne is located 62 kilometres northeast of Geneva.

House of Savoy noble family

The House of Savoy is a royal family that was established in 1003 in the historical Savoy region. Through gradual expansion, the family grew in power from ruling a small county in the Alps north-west of Italy to absolute rule of the kingdom of Sicily in 1713 to 1720. Through its junior branch, the House of Savoy-Carignano, it led the unification of Italy in 1861 and ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 until 1946 and, briefly, the Kingdom of Spain in the 19th century. The Savoyard kings of Italy were Victor Emmanuel II, Umberto I, Victor Emmanuel III, and Umberto II. The last monarch ruled for a few weeks before being deposed following the Constitutional Referendum of 1946, after which the Italian Republic was proclaimed.

Suggested marriage to the Shah of Iran

In the 1950s, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, then divorced from his second wife, indicated his interest in marrying Princess Maria Gabriella. Pope John XXIII reportedly vetoed the suggestion. In an editorial about the rumors surrounding the marriage of "a Muslim sovereign and a Catholic princess", the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano , wrote that the match constituted "a grave danger." [3]

Pope John XXIII 261st Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope John XXIII was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 28 October 1958 to his death in 1963; he was canonized on 27 April 2014. Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was one of thirteen children born to a family of sharecroppers who lived in a village in Lombardy. He was ordained to the priesthood on 10 August 1904 and served in a number of posts, as nuncio in France and a delegate to Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. In a consistory on 12 January 1953 Pope Pius XII made Roncalli a cardinal as the Cardinal-Priest of Santa Prisca in addition to naming him as the Patriarch of Venice.

Holy See Episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, refers to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope, which includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome with universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, as well as a sovereign entity of international law.

<i>LOsservatore Romano</i> official newspaper of the Holy See.

L'Osservatore Romano is the daily newspaper of Vatican City State which reports on the activities of the Holy See and events taking place in the Church and the world. It is owned by the Holy See but is not an official publication, a role reserved for the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, which acts as a government gazette. The views expressed in the Osservatore are those of individual authors unless they appear under the specific titles "Nostre Informazioni" or "Santa Sede".

Marriage and child

She married Robert Zellinger de Balkany (4 August 1931 in Iclod, Romania - 19 September 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland) on 12 February 1969 in Sainte-Mesme. The religious wedding was celebrated later on 21 June 1969 at Eze-sur-Mer. [1] The couple separated in 1976 and divorced in November 1990. They had one child:

Geneva Large city in Switzerland

Geneva is the second-most populous city in Switzerland and the most populous city of Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Situated where the Rhône exits Lake Geneva, it is the capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva.

Sainte-Mesme Commune in Île-de-France, France

Sainte-Mesme is a commune in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France in north-central France.

Èze Commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Èze is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France, approximately 12.5 kilometres from the city of Nice.

Published works


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Adelaide of Savoy may refer to:


  1. 1 2 Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh. "Burke’s Royal Families of the World: Volume I Europe & Latin America, 1977, p. 367. ISBN   0-85011-023-8
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 de Badts de Cugnac, Chantal. Coutant de Saisseval, Guy. Le Petit Gotha. Nouvelle Imprimerie Laballery. Paris. 2002. pp. 620-621. (French) ISBN   2-9507974-3-1
  3. Paul Hofmann, "Pope Bans Marriage of Princess to Shah", New York Times , 24 February 1959, p. 1.