Royal Families of Europe: House of Savoy - A struggle for power

The House of Savoy was founded in 1003 and became one of the most important
royal families in Europe.

The origins of the House of Savoy

Savoy was an historical area located in the Alpine region between what is now
France and Italy. The House of Savoy expanded its territory and influence
through marriages and international diplomacy. From rulers of a small region
between France and Italy this dynasty had after centuries influence over nearly
the complete Italian Peninsula.

The House of Savoy and their titles

Members of the House of Savoy bore magnificent titles as:
- Count of Savoy(1003-1416);
- Duke of Savoy (1416 -1792); (1814-1860);
- King of Cyprus (1485-1946);
- King of Jerusalem (1485-1946);
- King of Armenia (1485 -1946);
- King of Sicily (1713-1720);
- King of Sardinia (1720-1861);
- King of Italy (1861-1946);
- King of Spain (1870-1873);
- Emperor of Ethiopia (1936-1941);
- King of the Albanians (1939-1943);
- King of Croatia (1941-1943);
and many more.

Some royal history

The Royal House of Savoy descended from Humbert I, Count of Sabaudia.
His family originally came from Magdeburg in Saxony, nowadays in Germany.
Humbert I and his family had a poor county but they were diplomatically
skilled and they gained control over strategic mountain passes in the Alps.

In the late 14th. century Amadeus VIII was the ruler over Savoy. In 1416
members of the noble house of Savoy were elevated by the Holy Roman
Emperor Sigismund to Dukes of Savoy.

In 1553, when Emmanuel Philibert came to power, most of his family's
territories were in French hands. He served the leading enemy of France:
House of Habsburg in the hope of recovering his lands. He became governor
of the Netherlands under King Philip II of Spain. Through military campaigns
and diplomacy he regained territory from both the French and the Spanish,
including the city of Turin. He made Turin the capital of Savoy.

Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy

In 1861 Victor Emmanuel was crowned as King of Italy. He also was a
member of the House of Savoy. After a referendum in 1946, Italy became
a republic.

Victor Emmanuel II, King of Italy

The palaces of the House of Savoy

The Residences of the Royal House of Savoy in Turin and the neighbourhood
are protected as World Heritage Site.

Vittorio Emanuele in 1969

The Royal House of Savoy Nowadays

The titles of the Royal House of Savoy are not legally recognized by the
Italian Republic however the remaining members of this family still use
some of the various titles they acquired over the centuries, including
Duke of Savoy, Prince of Naples, Prince of Piedmont and Duke of Aosta.

The current leadership of the House of Savoy is contested by two cousins:
-Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples, who claimed the title of King of Italy;
-Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta, who claims the title Duke of Savoy.

Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta

Source pictures: Wikipedia

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