More than 75 years after Italy’s monarchy was abolished and the royal family’s crown jewels were thrown into a vault by the Bank of Italy, descendants of the nation’s last king are asking if they may pretty please have their treasure back.
Representatives of the Bank of Italy met with lawyers for the former royal family, also known as the House of Savoy, on Tuesday, the Guardian reports. The House of Savoy’s final monarch was Umberto II, who was deposed and exiled following a 34-day reign after Italians voted to get rid of the monarchy in the wake of its collaboration with a little fascist known as Benito Mussolini. Umberto II’s heirs include his son Vittorio Emanuele, daughters Maria Gabriella, Maria Pia, and Maria Beatrice, and grandson Emanuele Filiberto.
The jewels, which consist of more than 6,000 diamonds and 2,000 pearls mounted on various brooches, necklaces, and other pieces, has been estimated to be worth between €18 million ($24 million) and €300 million ($401 million), per the Guardian. But the monetary value of the jewels doesn’t interest the former royals so much as “the historical and sentimental value that they have for the family,” grandson Emanuele Filiberto, told the Telegraph. Even I am getting sentimental looking at those numbers!
“Italy should do what is right and fitting and restore the jewels to my family,” said Filiberto, whose other claims to fame are being a C-list celebrity in Italy, a food truck purveyor in Los Angeles, the father of a teen influencer, someone who previously demanded that Italy pay millions in damages to his family for exiling male descendants of Umberto II, and someone who subsequently apologized for this demand, clarifying that “the Italians were right to react the way they did and I’m not making excuses.”
Speaking with the Telegraph, Filiberto pointed out that other countries have restored the private property of former royals. One factor in the family’s favor could be that the jewels in question were supposedly received as gifts or were personally purchased, and thus not attained by family members in an official state capacity, the Guardian notes.
Tuesday’s mediation meeting, which reportedly ended inconclusively, marks the former royals’ first formal request to get their jewels back; an informal request was already rejected by the Bank of Italy in November, according to the Guardian. Per the Telegraph, the bank will likely defer the decision to the government.
Best of luck to this fame-sniffing, jewel-grubbing, evidently litigious ex-royal family. Hope they get all the historical and sentimental value they’re looking for. And if some of that pesky monetary value sneaks its way in too, well that’s just gravy.