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King Umberto I of Italy - A Royal Presentation Box, 1890
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King Umberto I of Italy - A Royal Presentation Box, 1890

Measurements: Length: 6.5cm (2.5in)

£545

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Provenance: Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy (b.1940)

Silver. Table box of fluted navette form with crowned ‘U’ cypher to cover. 900 hallmark.

Umberto I (1844-1900) was the son of Victor Emmanuel II and Archduchess Adelaide of Austria, and was born in Turin, then capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia. He served in the Italian Wars of Independence, being present at the Battle of Solferino in 1859.

In the war against Austria (1866). he won him popularity for calm and decisive leadership in saving his troops at the Italian debacle at Custoza. His marriage to his cousin Margherita of Savoy (1868), and the birth of their son, the future Victor Emmanuel III, also gained him public support in spite of prevailing anti-monarchist sentiment. Umberto ascended the throne in 1878, and despite efforts  to reconcile various political and regional elements, he maintained an authoritarian outlook, which he used, probably under the influence of the ambitious and energetic queen, to bring Italy into the Triple Alliance (1882) with Germany and Austria-Hungary. By late 1890s grave economic conditions, compounded by the failure of Italian troops in the Horn of Africa, resulted in the imposition of martial law. In the turmoil that followed Umberto was assassination by an anarchist in 1900.

 

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