Italian royalty

Here’s another photograph from the photo section of the May 14 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring the future King of Italy on a foreign tour.

Umberto II (1904-1983) became the last King of Italy on May 9 1946 when his father abdicated the throne. The hope was that the change of monarch would influence the voting in an upcoming referendum to determine whether Italy would become a republic.

While King Umberto was praised for being more moderate than his father, the transition of power had no effect – Italy became a republic on June 12 1946. Umberto left the country to go into exile on the Portuguese Rivera; while he travelled extensively after that, he never set foot in Italy again. In fact, his heirs were banned from entering Italy until 2002.

Italo Balbo (1896-1940) was a Fascist who was widely considered to be Benito Mussolini’s eventual successor. He was accidentally killed by friendly fire when Italian anti-aircraft batteries mistakenly assumed that the plane he was travelling in was British.

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