The two Duchesses of Aosta, the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law, the aunt and the niece. Helen of France, the Dowager, gives a rather fascist looking salute, while her daughter-in-law, Anne of France, salutes more discretely, like her opinions.
Photograph signed by King Victor Emmanuel III. He is posing on the terrace of one of his palaces surrounded by his children. From left to right, the youngest, Maria, Princess of Bourbon-Parma, Yolanda Countess Calvi of Bergolo, probably the child of the king who looks most like him and had the most personality, Mafalda Princess of Hesse, who died atrociously in a concentration camp, the Prince of Piedmont Umberto, the future King Umberto II, who was not very loved by his father, and finally Giovanna, who would become Queen of Bulgaria, only to lose her husband prematurely, and then her throne too.
It is a blurry photo, but of great historical importance. Pope Pius XII ahead of Queen Helen of Italy, in grand court dress, who came to the Vatican to speak with the Pope. The relationship between the Holy See and the House of Savoy, despite the Lateran accords, was not excessively cordial, nor were the meetings frequent.
Helen of France, the Dowager Duchess of Aosta with her older sister, Amelie of France, the Queen of Portugal, on the balcony of the Capodimonte Palace. Queen Amelie had all the virtues, which didn’t stop her sister Helen from teasing and mistreating her.
In 1941, in the middle of the war, the Dowager Duchess of Aosta went to the Vatican to visit the Pope. What was said during this meeting? Nobody knows. In any case, she was majestically dressed for the occasion, and wore the famous diamond tiara of Savoy-Aosta.
The Aosta branch of the House of Savoy was much more popular that the elder, reigning branch. Look at the enthusiasm of the crowd before Aimone of Savoy, the Duke of Spoleto. The youngest of the family, he was a marine officer who would meet a sad end, alone in Argentina after having seen the monarchy.
In the middle of the war, Anne of France, the Duchess of Aosta, went to the Vatican for the first holy communion of her two daughters, Princesses Margherita and Maria-Cristina of Savoy-Aosta, my much loved first cousins. The Duke of Aosta was in Ethiopia, where he served as viceroy. After a heroic defense, he ended up in an English POW camp.