King Umberto II descendants take legal action over treasure kept in Bank of Italy deposit box for 76 years
The descendants of Italy’s last king are suing the Italian state in their fight to reclaim the crown jewels, which for almost 76 years have been stashed in a treasure chest in a safety deposit box at the Bank of Italy amid a long-running mystery over their ownership, the Guardian reports.
The legal action comes after the offspring of King Umberto II failed to reach an agreement with the bank to return the jewels, which comprise more than 6,000 diamonds and 2,000 pearls mounted on brooches, necklaces and tiaras worn by various princesses and queens during the monarchy’s 85-year existence.
The first hearing will take place on 7 June at the court of Rome, said Sergio Orlandi, the lawyer representing Umberto II’s son, Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia, and three daughters, Maria Gabriella, Maria Pia and Maria Beatrice.
“We knew the mediation meeting [with the Bank of Italy] wouldn’t go anywhere but were obliged to have it before [suing the state],” added Orlandi. “I hope we manage to get the jewels returned, and it will now be up to a judge to establish if the family has the [ownership] rights.”
The Bank of Italy took delivery of the jewels on 5 June 1946, three days after Italians voted to abolish the monarchy and nine days before Umberto II, who ruled for just 34 days, was banished into exile along with his male heirs.
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