Amedeo, 3rd Duke of Aosta
Infobox Italian Royalty|prince
name =Prince Amedeo
title =Duke of Aosta
imgw = 200px
predecessor = Emanuele Filiberto, 2nd Duke
successor = Aimone, 4th Duke
Duke of Aosta
full name =Amedeo Umberto Isabella Luigi Filippo Maria Giuseppe Giovanni
titles = "HRH" The Duke of Aosta
"HRH" The Duke of Apulia
spouse = Princess Anne of Orléans
Margherita, Archduchess of Austria-Este
Maria Cristina, Princess Casimiro of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
royal house =
House of Savoy
Emanuele Filiberto, 2nd Duke of Aosta
Princess Hélène of Orléans
date of birth =birth date|1898|10|21
place of birth =
date of death =death date and age|1942|3|3|1898|10|21
place of death =
Prince Amedeo of Savoy, 3rd Duke of Aosta (
21 October 1898- 3 March 1942) was the third Duke of Aostaand a cousin of the King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III. His baptismal name was Amedeo Umberto Isabella Luigi Filippo Maria Giuseppe Giovanni di Savoia. During World War II, he was the Italian Viceroyand Governor-Generalof Italian East Africa("Africa Orientale Italiana", or AOI).
Amedeo was born in
Turin, Piedmont, to Prince Emanuele Filiberto, 2nd Duke of Aosta (son of Amadeus I of Spainand Princess Maria Vittoria) and Princess Hélène (daughter of Prince Philippe of Orléansand the Princess Marie Isabelle of Orléans). His great-grandfather was King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, making him a member of the House of Savoy. He was known from birth by the courtesy title of Duke of Apulia.
Amedeo was a very tall man. According to
Amedeo Guillet, he was once referred to by a journalist as "your highness", The Duke replied: "198 centimetres" (6 feet, 6 inches).
Education and early military career
Amedeo was educated at
Eton Collegeand Oxford Universityin England. He cultivated British mannerisms, spoke Oxford English, and even enjoyed the pastimes of fox huntingand polo. Amedeo entered the Italian Royal Army (" Regio Esercito") and fought with distinction in the artilleryduring World War I. He left the army in 1921 and traveled widely in Africa.
Amedeo subsequently rejoined the Italian armed forces and became a pilot. In 1932, he joined the Italian Royal Air Force ("
Regia Aeronautica"). Amedeo served under Marshall Rodolfo Grazianiand Libyan Governor Pietro Badoglioduring later stages of the pacificationof Libya(1911 to 1932). Amedeo and his fellow airmen harried the Senussiforces of Omar Mukhtarfrom the sky. [Time Magazine, [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,742332,00.html Muktar] ] When hostilities in Libya came to an end in early 1932, much was made of the participation of the "Duke of Apulia" as the commander of the airmen who forced the Senussi to flee Libyaand seek relief in Egypt. [Time Magazine, [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,743097,00.html Peace in Libya] ]
4 July 1931, upon the death of his father, Amedeo became the Duke of Aosta.
Viceroy and governor-general
In 1937, after the Italian conquest of
Ethiopiaduring the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, the Duke of Aosta replaced Marshal Graziani as Viceroyand as Governor-Generalof Italian East Africa. It was generally conceded that he was a vast improvement over Graziani. As Viceroy and Governor-General, the Duke of Aosta was also the Commander-in-Chiefof all Italian military forces in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Italian Somaliland.
World War II
When Italy declared war on the
United Kingdomand Franceon 10 June 1940, the Duke of Aosta became the commander of the Italian forces in what is known as the East African Campaign of World War II. He oversaw the initial Italian advances into the Sudanand Kenyaand, in August, he oversaw the Italian invasion of British Somaliland. [Time Magazine, [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,764398,00.html War Without Water] ] In January 1941, the British launched a counter-invasion and the Italians went on defensive in East Africa. The Italians fought stubbornly throughout February. But, after the Battle of Kerenended in Italian defeat [Time Magazine, [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,765414,00.html Last Act in East Africa] ] , the rest of Eritrea, including the port of Massawa, fell quickly. On 31 January, the Duke of Aosta reported that the Italian military forces in East Africawere down to 67 operational aircraft with limited fuel. With supplies running low and with no chance of re-supply, the Duke of Aosta opted to concentrate the remaining Italian forces into several strongholds: Gondar, Amba Alagi, Dessie, and Gimma. He himself commanded the 7,000 Italians at the mountain fortress of Amba Alagi. With his water supply compromised, surrounded, and attacked by 9,000 British and Commonwealth troops and more than 20,000 Ethiopian irregulars, the Duke of Aosta surrendered Amba Alagi on 18 May 1941. [Time Magazine [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,790095,00.html Aosta on Alag?] ]
Shortly after his surrender, the Duke of Aosta was interned in a prisoner-of-war camp in
Nairobi, Kenya. He was placed in command of his fellow prisoners, but never saw the end of World War II. On 3 March 1942, shortly after his internment, he died at the prison camp, reportedly as a result of complications from both tuberculosisand malaria. [Time Magazine, [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,801425,00.html Died. Prince Amedeo di Savoia, Duke of Aosta] ] Amedeo was succeeded by his brother, Aimone, 4th Duke of Aosta. From 18 May 1941, the same day Amedeo surrendered Amba Alagi, Aimone was also known as King Tomislav II of Croatia.
Amedeo was well known and highly regarded for being a gentleman. In one instance, before he fled his headquarters at
Addis Ababa, he wrote a note to the British to thank them in advance for protecting the women and children in the cities.
Galeazzo Ciano, Italian Foreign Minister under his father-in-law Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, paid Amedeo a high compliment in his famous diaries. Upon being given the news of the Duke's death Ciano wrote, "So dies the image of a Prince and an Italian. Simple in his ways, broad in outlook, and humane in spirit."
Haile Selassieof Ethiopia was also impressed by the respect and care that the Duke of Aosta showed to the exiled Emperor's personal property left behind in Addis Ababa. In a gesture of thanks, the Emperor during his state visit to Italy in 1953 invited the widowed Duchess of Aosta to tea during his stay in Milan, but was then informed by the Italian government that receiving the Duchess would cause offense to the Italian Republic, and so the Emperor sadly canceled the visit. Instead he invited the 5th Duke of Aosta to Ethiopia in the mid-sixties, and accorded him all the protocol due to visiting royalty.
Amedeo was married
5 November 1927, in Naples, to his first cousin HRH Princess Anne of Orléans (1906- 1986), daughter of Prince Jean of Orléans, styled Duc de Guise, and his wife Princess Isabelle of Orléans (herself daughter of Prince Philippe of Orléansand the Infanta Maria Isabel of Spain). By birth, the Duke and Duchess of Aosta were thus in distant remainder to the Spanish Throne.
They had two daughters, both marrying royal princes:
* Margherita Isabella Maria Vittoria Emanuela Elena Gennara (born
7 April 1930). She married on 28 December 1953HI and RH Archduke Robert, styled Archduke of Austria-Este(1915 - 1996), second son of the last Austrian emperor Karl I, and has issue three sons and two daughters.
* Maria Cristina Giusta Elena Giovanna (born
10 September 1933at Miramar), who married on January 29, 1967HRH Prince Casimiro of House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, descended from Spanish princes (of the house of Bourbonor Borbon) ruling in Sicily, and has issue two sons and two daughters.
Margherita's eldest son HIRH Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este acquired the title Prince of
Belgium(from 10 November 1995) by virtue of his marriage to HRH Princess Astrid of Belgium, only daughter of King Albert II of Belgium. Their two sons and three daughters are members of the Belgian Royal Family, and as such use the surname "de Belgique" or its variants.
Kingdom of Italy
History of Libya as Italian Colony
Colonial heads of Italian East Africa
East African Campaign (World War II)
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