Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Death of the King

It was on this day in 1983 that HM King Umberto II of Italy left this life for his eternal reward. On such an occasion, it is important to remember that the last Italian monarch was a King who, though forced to leave his homeland, always kept Italy, the Italian people and the House of Savoia in his heart. King Umberto II was a man of duty and responsibility and he never recognized the Italian republic, built on a fraudulent referendum, never abdicated or renounced his title and responsibilities as King of Italy and never ceased for the rest of his life to work toward putting the country to rights again. Despite some family problems, it was clear at his funeral that the monarchist community, the faithful of Italy and all the crowned heads of the world (as well as his fellow royals in exile) held the late King of Italy in the very highest regard for his firm commitment to upholding the legacy handed down to him by one of the oldest and longest-reigning dynasties in the world.

Among those who made the trip to attend his funeral were King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, King Constantine II of Greece, Tsar Simeon II of Bulgaria, King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of the Belgians, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, a representative of Pope John Paul II and many others. It was a very sad occasion and would be the beginning of an era of hardship for loyal Italians as the Royal House lost its undisputed leader. The King had maintained a court-in-exile and had worked closely with the Unione Monarchica Italian, despite his dislike of political parties, to try to set things right again. That unity that the loyal Italian monarchists had mostly enjoyed during his lifetime would be gone and remains somewhat elusive even now. It was a sad occasion for Italy and for monarchists everywhere. On such an occasion, it is perhaps best to call to mind the last message King Umberto II gave to the Italian nation, exhorting all to never cease to keep Italy first in their hearts and to do what is best for the country:

While the Country, barely emerged from a tragic war, sees her frontiers menaced, and her own unity in peril, I believe my duty is to do all that I still can in order that further sorrow and further tears may be spared the people who have already suffered so much.
I trust that the Magistrature, whose traditions of independence and liberty are among the glories of Italy, will be able to have its free say, but not wanting to oppose force to the abuse of power, nor to render myself complicit in the illegality that the government has committed, I leave the threshold of my Country, in the hope of averting from the Italians new struggles and new sorrows. Accomplishing this sacrifice in the supreme interest of the Fatherland, I feel the duty, as an Italian and as a King, to raise my protest against the violence which has been committed, a protest in the name of the Crown and of all the people, within and without the borders, who had the right to see its destiny decided with respect for the laws, and in such a manner as to dissipate every doubt and every suspicion.
For those who still maintain fidelity to the Monarchy, for those whose spirit rebels against injustice, I record my example, and I exhort them to avoid worsening the dissensions which would threaten the unity of the Country, fruit of the faith and the sacrifice of our fathers, and which could render more severe the conditions of the peace treaty.
With a spirit full of sorrow, but with the serene consciousness of having made every effort to carry out my duties, I leave my country. Let those who have taken the oath and kept faith through the hardest trials, consider themselves released from their oath of allegiance to the King, but not from their oath of allegiance to the Country. I think of all those who have fallen in the name of Italy, and I salute all the Italians. Whatever destiny awaits our Country, she will always be able to count on me, as on the most devoted of her sons.
Long live Italy!
June 13, 1946 

1 comment:

  1. Every time I read that message, I can't help but tear up a bit. A country that has been devastated by traitorous and corrupt politicians desperately needs a true leader like Umberto II. Perhaps the country was not mature enough for a king like him. It saddens me greatly.