A 17-year-old Italian princess and influencer is the new heir to Italy's defunct throne

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A 17-year-old Italian princess and influencer is the new heir to Italy's defunct throne
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Italian Emanuele Filiberto Di Savoia with wife Clotilde Courau and his daughter Vittoria at Venice Lido 2004.
Emanuele Filiberto Di Savoia with wife Clotilde Courau and his daughter Vittoria at Venice Lido in 2004. CARLO BARONCINI/AFP via Getty Images
  • Teenage influencer Vittoria di Savoia is the House of Savoy's first female heir in 1,000 years.

  • The House of Savoy in Italy is a defunct monarchy since it was abolished 75 years ago.

  • Vittoria's cousin and rival claimant told The New York Times her status was "totally illegitimate."

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The House of Savoy is now a defunct monarchy, but if Italy had not become a republic 75 years ago, Vittoria Cristina Chiara Adelaide Maria, the current heir, would be on track to become its first female monarch in 1,000 years.

Princess Vittoria of Savoy, the 17-year-old would-be queen, is known for being an Instagram influencer but her position in the House of Savoy is less widely known.

According to a report by The New York Times, Vittoria inherited her role as well at the title of Princess of Carignano, her ancestral home, on her 16th birthday from her grandfather Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia, the son of the last king of Italy.

The report added that by formal decree in 2019, the "Duke of Savoy, Prince of Naples and by the grace of God direct heir to Head of the Royal House of Savoy," amended a medieval law that had restricted the royal line of succession to exclude female heirs.

Vittoria, who resides in Paris and has amassed over 39,000 Instagram followers, told the publication that "it was the best gift he could give me."

The teenager is the eldest daughter of French actress Clotilde Courau and Prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia, an Italian television personality who uses the title Prince of Venice and was exiled from Italy until he was 30, The Guardian previously reported.

While it is uncertain what Vittoria's role will entail in the future after she completes her studies in London, her father told Insider her natural "curiosity" will be put to good use.

Prince Emanuele said he believes that his daughter's appointment was a necessary change in tradition in order to modernize and reflect the current social climate.

"Time evolves and I think it's a very important step. It's important to show that in monarchies, something that could look old, with 1,000-year-old values, can change and enter a new world," he told Insider.

The New York Times reports that while Vittoria is happy with her stake in the abolished monarchy, another branch of Savoias has expressed its disapproval.

Prince Aimone di Savoia Aosta, a cousin and rival claimant to the title of heir who works for the Pirelli tire company in Moscow, described Vittoria's status as "totally illegitimate" to the newspaper.

Prince Emanuele told Insider: "Unfortunately in all families, and mainly important families, you always have a branch which wants to take the place of the other branch."

"The other branch, the Aosta, always wanted to take our place. They are now saying that they would be the heir of, well there's no throne, but the family," he said.

"It's total nonsense because you can see who the Republic of Italy exiled when they were scared monarchy would come back, it was my grandfather, my father, and me," he continued, adding that the dispute is not financially motivated as the title bears status only.

Despite this, the family is seemingly feuding over a role that no longer formally exists. Insider's Talia Lakritz previously reported that Italy became a republic in 1946 following a referendum, which ended the rule of the royal family.

The last king of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III, was a controversial figure throughout his lifetime. According to the BBC, during his reign, he gave rise to Benito Mussolini's fascist regime and signed laws that legalized the persecution of Jews in 1938.

The BBC also reported that the former king was exiled to Egypt where he died in 1947.

According to the New York Times report, the Aosta branch of the family says that the law restricting royal succession to males should not be altered until the monarchy is restored - a rare prospect, Prince Emanuele told Insider.

"To tell you the truth, Italy has been a republic for 70 years. I don't think the monarchy could go back," he said.

Insider was unable to reach Prince Aimone di Savoia Aosta for comment.

Read the original article on Insider