'The future of Italy': the heirs to the Savola throne and the dissemination of Italianita, 1860-1900
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This thesis explores the role played by the heirs to the throne of Italy between 1860 and 1900. It focuses on the future kings Umberto I (1844-1900) and Vittorio Emanuele III (1869-1947), as well as their respective spouses, Margherita of Savoia (1851-1926) and Elena of Montenegro (1873-1952). My analysis sheds light on the soft power the Italian royals were attempting to generate, by identifying and examining four specific areas of monarchical activity: (1) the heirs’ public role and the manner in which they attempted to craft an Italian identity through a process of self-presentation; (2) the national, royal, linguistic and military education of the heirs; (3) the promotion of a family-centred dynasty deploying both male and female elements in the public realm; and (4) the readiness to embrace different modes of mobility. The aim of this study is to illustrate the growing importance of the functionalisation of royal heirs and of their performance on the public stage in post-Risorgimento Italy. The desire to equate crown with nation, to become examples of italianità and to generate social consensus and legitimacy emerges as a driving factor for the royals. This thesis explores how this Savoia strategy was laid out and how it competed for space on a rather crowded national stage, whilst dealing with its own limitations. One of the main aims is to highlight that although the Savoia struggled to become the unifying force in the peninsula, they nonetheless focused on creating a national presence by utilising all the resources at their disposal – including the specific contribution by the royal heirs. By analysing the Savoia heirs through the lens of soft power, this thesis seeks to contribute to the scholarship on the Savoia’s role in post-unification Italy and their influence in shaping the contemporary understanding of italianità.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2022-11-09
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 9th November 2022
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