"I'll step aside and let a woman take the reins again, I'm sure she'll do better than me." The Prince of Piedmont Emmanuel-Philibert of Savoy announced Monday his intention to abdicate in favor of his daughter Vittoria, whom he had with actress Clotilde Courau in 2003.
In a long interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, the one who has also been crown prince of Italy since 1983 returned to the exile of his family until 2002 and the choice of his father to abolish the Salic law.
"Salic law is outdated"
It was only very recently that Princess Vittoria of Savoy appeared in the order of succession. Indeed, the current pretender to the throne of Italy and father of Emmanuel-Philibert, Victor-Emmanuel of Savoy, abolished Salic law in 2020. Thus, the eldest daughter of the Prince of Piedmont became second in line to the Italian throne behind her father.
A decision that Emmanuel-Philibert of Savoy considers "very fair and modern". "Soon, in Europe, there will be more queens than kings. (...) Salic law is anachronistic, it is outdated. Men have nothing more, if anything," he told Corriere della Sera. "In my opinion, more women than men of the House of Savoy will go down in history."
Princess Vittoria of Savoy, 19, is currently living in the United Kingdom where she is studying art history and political science, her father said.
A prince for whom Italy was "an unattainable dream"
Prince Emmanuel-Philibert of Savoy also returned to his ties with Italy. The heir to the Italian crown spent a large part of his life in exile: after the proclamation of the Italian Republic in 1946, members of the royal family were banned from entering the country and their descendants with it. It was therefore in Switzerland that the Prince of the House of Savoy was born and raised.
"As a child, Italy was an unattainable dream. I grew up with a huge desire to go," he recalls. This prohibition provided for by the Italian Constitution only ended in 2002, with a constitutional revision law.
Since then, Emmanuel-Philibert of Savoy has cultivated his proximity to his country of origin: "I think I was the first in the family to have managed to get closer to the Italians," he says.
From "Dancing with the Stars" to "Beijing Express"
"When I returned to Italy, I thought the best way to make myself known was television and so I went to Ballando con le stelle (Dancing with the stars)" in 2009. A successful bet, since he finished winner of the fifth season of the program, which gathered an average of 6 million viewers.
Finally, in 2013, he presented the Italian version of "Peking Express", a program he found on the French side the same year, participating in the show as a mystery passenger.