For most adolescents, they can expect a new phone, or maybe a new car for their birthday. But Instagram influencer Vittoria Cristina Chiara’s grandfather, the son of the last king of Italy, decided to blow all of these gifts out of the water this year— gifting his teenage granddaughter the defunct Italian throne instead. Talk about a sweet-sixteen?
With this decision, Vittoria Cristina Chiara will become the first woman ever vested with the authority to lead the monarchy in the 1,000 years that it has existed. So ostensibly, she becomes Italy’s first ‘queen.’ Well, kind of. You see, Italy is a republic, and has abolished the monarchy 75 years ago— after it’s disastrous support of Mussolini. Remember him? The leader of the Italian National Fascist Party and one of Adolf Hitler’s axis ‘buddies’ during the Second World War. Yeah… Talk about a rough patch.
However, during the past 75 years, the defunct Italian monarchy became determined to make a come-back. But unlike mom-jeans and Fila shoes— the Italians aren’t very open to a royal restoration. In fact, the vast majority of Italians have no idea who their ‘soon-to-be queen’ is— much less the rest of her obsolete royal family. When asked by The New York Times last week, many Italians shrugged at the mention of her name. “Never heard of her,” said teenagers, middle-aged shoppers, and old men— according to the New York Times.
However, apart from a complete uninterest by the general public, the defunct Italian princess has other obstacles in the way of her defunct throne— obstacles that include a rival branch of the family refusing to legitimize her defunct claim to the obsolete monarchy. “Totally illegitimate,” claimed Prince Aimone di Savoia Aosta, a cousin who works for a tire company in Moscow. Talk about a royal rivalry. But at least she’s not being challenged by an employee at Michelin. God forbid the French have anything to do with this.
However, even with these harsh words, Vittoria’s family is hopeful that her ascension will be a defining moment for the now long-forgotten monarchy. “Never say never,” said Vittoria’s father, an Italian television personality, when asked about the Italian monarchy’s fate in the 21st century. Vittoria’s father, like her grandfather, Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia, believes that the ‘future is female,’ noting pointedly that the heads of the surviving monarchies are all women. However, unfortunately for them, they seem to forget that Queen Elizbabeth did not come from a lineage that supported fascists. And even though the newly-enlightened monarchs continue to push the idea that they are non-despots and ‘totally anti-fascist,’ its a little bit hard for the Italian public to simply forget the horrors of World War II with talks of ‘female empowerment’— even if their new ‘queen’ may boast an Instagram following in the tens of thousands.
So while even Europe’s most powerful monarchies struggle to remain relevant in the age of modernity, the ongoing battle for a throne that doesn’t even exist anymore may seem absurd. However, for those amidst the battle, it feels as important as life itself. Or at least it does for everyone except the ‘future queen’ herself. When asked about her noble role, the teenager called the entire thing ‘abstract,’ and said that she still hasn’t figured out what she wants to do in life yet. That seems like a pretty fair thing for a teenager to say— even one with a thousand years of defunct royal blood running through her veins.