Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sicily's Royal Family Unites

The dynasty of Bourbon Two Sicilies reigned from 1734 until 1861. Like too many - dare we say most - Italian families, they have been divided by a familial dispute for a long time. Over fifty years. It had become quite bitter indeed.

In this case it was a dynastic dispute over a crown unlikely ever to be restored. In 1960 two cousins, grandsons of King Ferdinando I (who was born in Palermo in 1810), emerged to claim to be head of the family. The feud spawned concern because the family administers certain institutions in Italy closely connected to cultural initiatives and the Catholic Church, particularly the Constantinian Order of Saint George. Some people supported one claimant and some the other. Some time ago we published an interview with Carlo de Bourbon, who is planning a visit to Sicily this month.

A week ago the Bourbons signed a family agreement of reconciliation, seeking, in a spirit of Christian brotherhood, to work out their differences over a series of matters that the outside world considers, to say the least, arcane. Carlo, Duke of Castro, and Pedro, Duke of Noto, the princes signing the agreement, are second cousins once removed. Both men had lived with the dispute for an entire lifetime.

In this picture (from left): Pedro's son Jamie, Pedro and his wife Sofia, Carlo's wife Camilla, Carlo and his two daughters Carolina and Chiara.

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