7 July 2006 – present
Prince Aimone, Duke of Apulia
27 September 1943 (age 80) Florence, Italy (
Princess BiancaPrince Aimone, Duke of ApuliaPrincess MafaldaPietro Incisa della Rochetta (illegitimate)Ginevra van Ellinkhuizen (illegitimate)
Prince Aimone, 4th Duke of Aosta
Prince Aimone, Duke of Aosta, Princess Irene, Duchess of Aosta
Prince Aimone, Duke of Apulia
Princess Silvia, Duchess of Aosta (m. 1987), Princess Claude of Orleans (m. 1964–1982)
Prince Umberto of Savoy-Aosta
Prince Aimone - Duke of A, Princess Claude of Orleans, Vittorio Emanuele - Prince of, Princess Irene - Duchess, Princess Olga - Duchess
Prince Amedeo, 5th Duke of Aosta (Amedeo Umberto Costantino Giorgio Paolo Elena Maria Fiorenzo Zvonimir di Savoia-Aosta; born 27 September 1943) is a claimant to the headship of the House of Savoy, the family which ruled Italy from 1861 to 1946. Until 7 July 2006 Amedeo was styled Duke of Aosta; on that date he declared himself Duke of Savoy, a title that is disputed between him and his third cousin, Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples. In fact, Prince Amedeo is still referred to as Duke of Aosta.
Birth and early life
Only three weeks before Amedeo's birth, Italy had surrendered to the Allies. His father, then king-designate of Croatia, abdicated. Italy's former ally, Germany, thereupon launched a military operation to occupy Italy. The infant Amedeo was arrested by the Nazis along with his mother, aunt, and two cousins, and sent to an internment camp in Austria.
When Amedeo was only four years old, his father died in exile in Buenos Aires, and he succeeded as Duke of Aosta, Prince della Cisterna e Belriguardo, Marchese di Voghera, and Count di Ponderano.
He is an Honorary Companion of the Pennsylvania Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS). He was assigned insignia number 21015. He is eligible for hereditary descent in MOLLUS by right of his descent from his great grandfather, Prince Philippe, Count of Paris.
Marriages and family
On 22 July 1964 Amedeo married Princess Claude of Orléans (born 11 December 1943) in Sintra, Portugal. She was the ninth child and fifth daughter of Henri, comte de Paris, Orléanist claimant to the French throne, and of Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza. Amedeo and Claude have three children:
On 30 March 1987 Amedeo married Silvia Paternò di Spedalotto (b. 31 December 1953) in the chapel of Villa Spedalotto in Bagheria, Sicily. She is the daughter of Vincenzo Paternò di Spedalotto, Marchese di Reggiovanni, and of Rosanna Bellardo Ferrari. Amedeo and Silvia have no children.
Amedeo has two illegitimate children:
Amedeo and his wife Silvia live in the village of San Rocco near the town of Castiglion Fibocchi in Tuscany (about 15 km northwest of Arezzo). He is involved in various agricultural activities including the production of wine marketed under the name Vini Savoia Aosta.
Since 1997, Amedeo has been president of the International Foundation Pro Herbario Mediterraneo. From 2003 to 2006, he was president of the committee responsible for the nature reserve on the island of Vivara.
Always close to the head of the Savoy dynasty, ex-King Umberto II, Amedeo was long-viewed by Italian royalists as a likely claimant to the throne if Umberto's own son failed to live up to monarchist expectations. On 7 July 2006 Amedeo declared himself to be the head of the House of Savoy and Duke of Savoy, claiming that his third cousin Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples had lost his dynastic rights when he married, just following the time of his arrest, without previously obtaining the permission of his father, former King Umberto II in 1971, authorization which had been required under monarchical law. Vittorio Emanuele and his son, Emanuele Filiberto, Prince of Venice, sought judicial intervention to forbid Amedeo's use of the title "Duke of Savoy". In February 2010, the court of Arezzo ruled that the Duke of Aosta and his son must pay damages totalling 50,000 euros to their cousins and cease using the surname Savoy instead of Savoy-Aosta. The President of the Council of the Senators of the Kingdom, Aldo Alessandro Mola, published a declaration in favour of Amedeo's claim; in fact only nine members of the 62 member council voted in support of the declaration. Amedeo's claim has also received the support of Vittorio Emanuele's sister, Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy.
Although many monarchists transferred their allegiance to Prince Amedeo at some point after King Umberto's death, Aosta has been criticized by other Italian royalists who continue to support Prince Vittorio Emanuele. Sergio Pellecchi, President of the Giunta of the Chivalric Orders of the House of Savoy, has stated that the Council of the Senators of the Kingdom was dissolved in 2002 and that it never had any authority in matters of the succession. Eugenio Armando Dondero, spokesman for the Coordinamento Monarchico Italiano, has asked why Amedeo did not claim to be head of the House of Savoy in 1983 when Umberto II died. But others, including constitutional jurist Guido Locatello, declared the marriage of Vittorio Emanuele to be in violation of Savoy dynastic law years before scandal evoked any clamor for Amedeo to replace him. The Unione Monarchica Italiana published in its newsletter, Monarchia Nuova, on 12 February 1987 that the Prince of Naples' marriage to Marina Doria violated the decree of Victor Amadeus III, issued 13 September 1780, regulating the marriages of princes of the blood royal, compelling the Unione to recognise Amedeo as rightful head of the royal house—although at that time Aosta had put forth no public dynastic claim.
On 21 May 2004, at a soirée held at the Zarzuela Palace near Madrid during the wedding celebrations of the Spanish royal heir apparent, Felipe, Prince of Asturias, Amedeo approached Vittorio Emanuele who reportedly punched him twice in the face, causing him to stumble backward down the steps. The swift intervention of another guest, former Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, who propped him up, prevented Amedeo from falling to the ground. She helped him move indoors and stanched his bleeding facial wound until first aid was administered. Upon learning of the incident Spain's King Juan Carlos I, a cousin of both men, reportedly declared that "never again" would an opportunity to abuse his hospitality be afforded the rivals.
Amedeo is a Knight of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation named by Umberto II, a Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, and a Knight of Honor and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem. He is an honorary citizen of the towns of Marigliano, Pantelleria, and Abetone.