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English Italian Spanish More languages. Russian French German 6. Japanese 6. In , he horrified his father by opting to marry a commoner, a biscuit heiress and former champion water-skier, Marina Doria. They had a first wedding in Las Vegas and a second in Tehran as guests of the shah of Iran. The prince's friendship with the shah later embroiled him in a controversy over his role as intermediary in a sale of helicopters to Iran.
But that was as nothing to the scandal that exploded - quite literally - on the night of August 17 off the coast of Corsica. A shot fired from a rifle owned by the prince fatally wounded a young German tourist. That led to Vittorio Emanuele being arrested for the first time.
He was charged and indicted, and it was not until 13 years later that he was acquitted of manslaughter by a court in Paris. In the meantime, he had been plunged into controversy of an altogether different sort. The prince had always given an impression of refusing to acknowledge the Italian republic, writing to the head of state, for example, without calling him "president".
And it was known Vittorio Emanuele held rightwing views. But what no one knew, until it was discovered by police, was that he was a member of the notorious rogue Masonic lodge, Propaganda Due. The P2, which was headed by a conspiratorial ex-fascist, was disbanded by parliament because of its illicit activities in Vittorio Emanuele's return to Italy, in , was - to say the least - colourful. Riot police fired tear gas in Naples to break up demonstrations against him and his family by an assortment of diehard monarchists, hardline, republican neo-fascists and unemployed workers chanting, "Get out of here, traitors".
File:A Carlo Alberto di Savoia un Italiano.djvu
Since then, tensions within the Savoy family have simmered and occasionally erupted. In , as they were leaving a dinner on the night before the wedding of Spain's Crown Prince Felipe, Vittorio Emanuele was reported to have come to blows with his cousin Duke Amedeo. One report said the duke was twice punched in the mouth and would have fallen to the ground had he not been caught on the way down by deposed Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.
Since then, there has been a less dramatic, but perhaps more significant, falling-out. When his father died, Vittorio Emanuele inherited the Grand Masterships of two orders of chivalry. Last February, all three of his sisters resigned from their positions as dames of the order, apparently in protest at the way it was being run by the prince and his son. Speaking to Corriere della Sera, Princess Maria Gabriella said the two men had introduced "the payment of membership fees [and] activities such as the sale of objects with the Savoy coat of arms and credit cards of the order".
Among the new knights of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus - entitled to sport its regalia of an eight-pointed green and white cross - was none other than Rocco Migliardi, he of the gaming machines, the police record and the disputed mafia connections. Migliardi and the prince will now have plenty of time in which to discuss this and much else besides, since they are currently sharing a cell.
So far, at least, the prince seems to have adapted remarkably well to life behind bars. After getting his first taste of prison food, he told a local politician who visited him earlier this week: "It really is true what they say: in Italy, you can eat well everywhere".
VISITA A TEMA DEDICATA A RE CARLO ALBERTO DI SAVOIA-CARIGNANO | Turismo Torino e Provincia
It is not often that the jails of southern Italy - crammed with bag-snatchers, rapists, fraudsters and mafiosi - get the chance to welcome a man with 12 first names. It was the start of the first act of a drama that is enthralling and appalling European high society. Topics Italy. Reuse this content.