Emanuele Filiberto, nephew of the last king Umberto II, speaks: «We would have preferred to mediate, but we will go all the way. A long-considered decision: in 2006 we tried to exhibit them at the 2006 Turin Games “
“It is not a hostile act towards Italy, much less towards Prime Minister Draghi. He has all the esteem of the Savoy family and I personally remember having already addressed the theme of jewels with him years ago ».
Emanuele Filiberto talk to the Corriere della Sera after the roar of the claims of the jewels of the House of Savoy kept since 1946 in the vault of the Bank of Italy.
It is not a hostile act, but the timing – as Gian Antonio Stella rightly observes today in the Corriere – could not have been worse. January 27, the day of Remembrance with all the historical responsibilities of the House of Savoy. And while Italy, still in the grip of the pandemic, votes for its new president of the Republic. Why right now?
«Well, current events always have some difficult context. And I understand that Italy is also going through particularly complex moments due to the pandemic and the social crisis. But it is not a last-minute decision, but one that was developed calmly ».
When? The family reunited at the end of the year as they have usually done at Christmas for years, by tradition … and have you decided to act now?
“No, no family reunions this year. We have been considering this move for some time, my father talked to the sisters. And they have entrusted the lawyer Sergio Orlandi with the task of mediation ».
The heirs of Umberto II and Maria José – his father Vittorio Emanuele and his sisters Maria Pia, Maria Beatrice and Maria Gabriella – strangely united. After years of fighting.
“The family is very close on this battle. Also because 75 years after that 1946 it was time to come out and ask for how much belongs to the House of Savoy ».
Of the Savoy or the Italian State?
«Of the Savoy. We do not ask the Italians for anything back, only the return of private family assets. As it has been returned over the years to the former ruling families of Yugoslavia or Bulgaria, even to the heirs of the Russian tsars ».
The debate is open: are the treasure of jewels in the Bank of Italy joys of the Crown or private joys? How are you going to try it out?
“They are jewels received as a wedding gift, or purchased by the Savoy family or even received as a donation … so much so that the XIII final transitional provision that has claimed other assets of the House of Savoy to the state does not mention them”.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Italy rejected the mediation attempt, replying that it is not up to Via Nazionale to decide. But to the institutions of the republic. And now what will the House of Savoy do?
You gave an ultimatum of 10 days before going to “the competent judicial offices, to obtain the rights due to the heirs”. Is that so?
“No, no ultimatum, but we’ll continue with a lawsuit. Of course we would have hoped for a good outcome of the mediation ».
At that mediation meeting, in the center of Rome, in via degli Scipioni, not far from Montecitorio where in the meantime the thirteenth president of the Republic is being voted, the representatives of the Bank of Italy met her as a delegate of her father and of his aunts, with the lawyer Orlandi. Was it delegated by the family? And how far is he determined to take the battle of the jewels?
“Up to the European Court, if necessary. Let’s go ahead through the legal channels but it is not a hostile act, I would have much preferred mediation … I have the utmost respect for the institutions and for the figure of Draghi. Indeed I remember that already at the time of the 2006 Turin Winter Games, the Piedmont region also took an interest in being able to exhibit the jewels in Turin. From the Bank of Italy there were no questions but everything came to a standstill because permission from the Prime Minister was needed ».
Months ago, when he anticipated to the Corriere the intention to sooner or later claim the jewels for the House of Savoy, he said that the family would be honored if a new president of the republic wore them. If it were to be a woman.
“The important thing is that after keeping them under lock and key for 75 years they come back to light, they can be seen. But the first step is that they return them to us, then we will decide in what form to make them public. I am also thinking of a museum. In the meantime, let’s go ahead, ready to take the matter to the European Court ».