Eduardo Alvarez

Updated Saturday, March 2, 2024-01:51

  • 'Royals' Humberto de Saboya, the sad exile of the 'father-in-law' of King Juan Carlos who could only reign for 33 days

They nicknamed her the

queen of pearls


And it's not hard to imagine why.

Margaret of Savoy

(1851-1926) has gone down in history above all because she was the first consort of unified Italy as the

wife of King Umberto I.

But she is still remembered in the transalpine country for her strong nationalist convictions and her great interest for politics - she had no small influence on her husband - but also for her sophistication, for the influence she had on fashion in her time and, there is no doubt, for her

extraordinary jewelry box


We are facing one of the queens of the modern era with one of the most envied collections of magnificent jewelry in any of the European Courts.

And the fact is that the

jewelry box of that queen Margarita

who was so unhappy in love - it was not new that hers was a marriage of convenience and that her husband was crazy about his lovers - is once again becoming highly relevant these days.

On the one hand, due to the recent death of one of his descendants, the always controversial Prince Victor Emmanuel of Savoy, who died on February 3 and was buried in the dynasty's crypt in Turin after a

funeral attended by numerous representatives. of the Götha

, including Albert of Monaco or Queen Sofia of Spain.

His death has put the focus on his heir, the very famous and somewhat tarambana


, who today receives a legacy that also includes some of the most valuable pieces from the jewelry box that the family has owned since the times of the aforementioned Queen Margaret. .

But, also, because the disappearance of Víctor Manuel does not stop the litigation that he and his sisters initiated against the Italian State to

recover the treasure that is kept in the National Bank.

In October, a hearing will take place that seems decisive in determining who owns the

jewels that have been collecting dust for decades.

Filibrtto and Clotilde Courau on their wedding day.

She wore the topaz and diamond tiara that Elizabeth of Saxony wore at her wedding to Ferdinand of Savoy.GETTY

It will now be Prince Filiberto, the new head of the House of Savoy - always in dispute, of course, with his cousin

Aimón of Aosta-Savoy

, so loved by the mother of Philip VI - who will take the lead in the

historic lawsuit

against the authorities of the Republic.

Because Víctor Manuel's son has not been slow to recant his

desire to transmit his dynastic rights to his first-born daughter

, Princess Victoria (20 years old), who will have to wait to take over the reins of the family that at the moment come to everyone. big lights.

"I have been misunderstood.

Victoria is studying and has to learn little by little

, being by my side, as I was with my father. I am of the opinion that space should be given to young people when they reach the appropriate maturity. So "When the time comes,

when I am too old and tired to continue


I will leave the place to her

," declared Filiberto days ago, determined to take on the task as helmsman of one of the most important dynasties of the Old Continent, despite his image is destroyed by so many scandals.

To know more

King's funeral.

The cursed legacy of Victor Emmanuel of Savoy: mansions, companies and a lawsuit against the Italian State


The cursed legacy of Victor Emmanuel of Savoy: mansions, companies and a lawsuit against the Italian State


Victor Emmanuel of Savoy: the life of scandals of the claimant to the throne of Italy


Victor Emmanuel of Savoy: the life of scandals of the claimant to the throne of Italy

Returning to that nineteenth-century queen,

Margaret of Savoy, she filled chests and chests with jewels,

both those she bought as a consort, those that her husband gave her - perhaps to compensate for her permanent infidelity -, those that she had the right to use that belonged to the dynasty or those he inherited from his parents, Ferdinand of Savoy and Isabella of Saxony.

The sovereign's life was cut short on July 29, 1900, the day her husband, Umberto I (who had acceded to the throne in 1878) was

assassinated by the anarchist Gaetano Bresci

in the city of Monza, in Lombardy.

His son Victor Emmanuel III

became the new monarch

and his wife, the most pious

Elena of Montenegro

, became the new consort, much less fond of luxury, clothing, cosmetics and jewelry

than her mother-in-law

, despite the fact that she automatically The preferential use of the House's jewels corresponded to her - the same thing that happens without going any further now with Doña Letizia in front of Queen Sofía, to understand what we mean.

The chronicles say that in an atmosphere as heated as that of the beginning of the 20th century in an

Italy that seethed with radicalism in every pore

, and with the impact of the regicide, the Savoy jeweler began to receive much more reinforced custody in



Queen Margaret with tiara and her famous pearl necklaces.GETTY

Known is the history of the reign of Victor Emmanuel III, his

support for the fascist regime of Mussolini

, etc.

And his turn towards the Allied countries in 1943, in the middle of World War II, was of little use to a sovereign who had already lost the support of his people.

In the autumn of that year, before the advance of Hitler's troops,

the great Savoy jeweler ended up in a vault of the Bank of Italy

, as a hiding place.

It is said that the



claimed the jewels

, aware of their incalculable value.

Luckily for the royal family,

the pieces were moved to another, safer refuge through a tunnel

that connects the Quirinal - then seat of the Monarchy - with the Barberini Palace, where

a niche was dug in one of the walls


All very movie-like.

And so, after the devastating war, the intact jeweler remained in the hands of the Savoy family.

It was then that, in a desperate attempt to save the Crown, Victor Emmanuel abdicated in favor of his son Umberto II, who however

lasted barely a month on the throne

as a referendum gave way to the

republican regime


Well, before leaving for exile,

the king handed the royal jewels to the then governor of the Bank of Italy

, Luigi Einaudi, instructing him to keep them there, in a


along with a note from the monarch in which he urged that the jewels are

"kept at the disposal of whoever has the right to them."

There is the lamb's mother.

Does the right to them belong to the current Savoy or to all Italians?

But it is not the only big question in this matter.

Because it certainly seems that

no one knows which pieces are kept in the

tightly lined chest of the Bank of Italy.

There is talk of a total of more than

6,000 diamonds and 2,000 pearls mounted on brooches, tiaras and other jewelry

that, according to some specialists, could have a value of up to

300 million euros

, although others believe that they would barely reach 17. And it is missing an inventory in good condition.

In 1976 two goldsmiths were allowed to see the contents of the jewelry box to dispel rumors of theft that were circulating.

And the head of the great Bvlgari house then made a comment that denoted disappointment:

"And this is the great treasure of the Savoy?"

Keep in mind that, beyond what Umberto II left in Rome before his hasty departure into exile,

his descendants have worn - and sold - many invaluable pieces

of the royal family in these decades.

Thus, for example, one of his daughters, Princess María Gabriela of Savoy - first love or whatever was the future Juan Carlos I - has made a lot of money with her auctions.

In 2021, for example, one of the tiaras that she had inherited

was sold for 1.3 million euros

, the work of the Turin house Musy Padre e Figli - one of the oldest in Europe - with 11 natural pearls and diamonds.

It was nothing less than

the diadem that Amadeo I of Savoy - the short-lived king of Spain - gave to his wife

, María Victoria, after their marriage, in 1867. And in a more recent auction, María Gabriela herself got a lot of


with a good lot of dynastic objects, including other jewelry.

A daughter of the same Umberto II also



oldest diadem of Mellerio

, along with other heart-stopping jewelry, which Victor Emmanuel II acquired in 1867 for the wedding of his son, the future Umberto I, with the aforementioned Margaret, the queen



Marina Doria with the diamond and pearl tiara from Musy.GETTY

What, then, remains in the Bank of Italy?

And what historical pieces are still in the hands of the members of the most scandalous royal family on the Old Continent?


We would like the current jeweler of Marina Doria, Víctor Manuel's widow, to be known.

At least, there is evidence that

she keeps two stunning pieces

: the

diamond and pearl tiara from Musy

for Queen Margaret of Savoy that Marina wore at the wedding of Frederick and Mary Donaldson of Denmark.

And the fabulous

tiara of topaz and diamonds

that Isabella of Saxony wore at her wedding to Ferdinand of Savoy and that her daughter, Queen Margaret, ended up inheriting, and which was the one

worn by the French actress Clotilde Courau at her wedding

in Rome in 2003 with Prince Philibert.

We will see if the Savoy lawsuit against the Italian Republic sheds more light on the

mystery of the most envied jeweler

in modern monarchical history.