|Princess Urraca of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.
In the fall of 1998, Princess Urraca of Bourbon-Two Sicilies gave an interview to Giuseppe Scammacca. This interview was published in the now defunct French-language magazine Bourbons. Below one can read an English translation of the interview of the princess.
Your Royal Highness is one of the great nieces of the last Neapolitan sovereign, His Majesty Francesco II. What kind of memories did the Duke of Calabria, the father of Your Royal Highness, impart to you of the king?
Naturally, my father, but also my grandfather [the Count of Caserta] often spoke to me of Francesco II, as well as to my three sisters. The idea that we had as children was that the king was a man struck by sorrows and the trials of life. Probably due to various betrayals that he endured… I remember very well my great-aunt, the Queen Sophia. She was a severe woman; I was so afraid of her.
Can you provide us with a description of the Duke of Calabria, your father?
My father followed the family’s traditions, notably in reorganising the Constantinian Order of which he was Grand Master for a long time. He also pursued a military career in the Spanish army of his cousin King Alfonso XIII; I believe that I remember that he was a very talented engineering officer. He fought in Spanish Morocco.
One of my saddest memoirs: the death in his youth of his son (my brother), the Duke of Noto, the presumptive heir. He died from the Spanish flu that ravaged Europe during the First World War.
Called to God in 1960, the Duke of Calabria was by right His Majesty King Ferdinando III. How did he carry out this dignity far from the land that had witnessed his birth?
To tell the truth, my father was not born in Naples but in Rome, at the Palazzo Farnese. However, he only lived there for a year, since he, like his entire family, had to leave the new Italy after September 1870; this exile did not end until 1938, on the occasion of my sister Lucia’s marriage to Prince Eugenio of Savoy-Genoa, Duke of Ancona. I remember that my father spent a lot of his time, when he lived in Bavaria, to constitute and reorganise archives relating to the royal family and therefore to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Unfortunately, part of these documents was destroyed during the bombing of Munich during World War II. He donated what was left of the archives to the city of Naples.
What can you tell us about your father’s stay in Spain?
I have often been told of the military feats of my grandfather, who had been the Chief of Staff in the Carlist armies who fought for King Carlos VII of Spain, Duke of Madrid. In 1874, when the Duke of Madrid had to take refuge in France, my grandfather rode alongside him when they arrived in Pau. This is where the daughter of the Carlist King, Princess Alicia, was born.
As a Capetian princess, how do you view the House of Bourbon?
Personally, I feel first of all Neapolitan and Sicilian; moreover, when I travel to the old kingdom, I see everywhere the proof of the moral, cultural and spiritual heritage that my family left there. But I was just talking about Pau; that’s where Henri VI started out. So I am also French at heart, as I am undoubtedly Spanish and Parmesan. Indeed, the Bourbons reigned everywhere, until America. It’s amazing, isn’t it?
You yourself have experienced exile. How did you feel when you went through this ordeal?
Sadness; in particular, that of not being able to know the countries and the friends that our parents wanted to tell us about. Of course, my mother, my sisters and I could cross the north of Italy to get from Munich to Cannes… But remember that we were always watched, accompanied on the train by plainclothes police. And, it was not until 1938 that my father was able to return to Italy. However, since the end of World War II, we were finally free. It is all the more strange that my Bavarian cousins have never suffered this kind of annoyance … and have always lived in their homeland.
You return from time to time to the lands that constituted the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. What are your feelings there?
I am at home there! And I have so many friends there!
Exactly, what is the attitude of the Italians and, more precisely, of the Neapolitans and the Sicilians towards you?
As I just told you, grand and loving are the feelings of the people I meet. All still speak – and I will even say more and more – of my ancestors whom they consider as the image of the continuity of the moral and political values which embodied the history of our kingdom. Moreover, I am invited to the many events organised by cultural groups and movements that want to seriously study the true history of the nineteenth century.
|The Duchess of Calabria with her youngest child Princess Urraca.
Born on 14 July 1913 at Schloß Nymphenburg in Munich, Princess Urraca Maria Isabella Carolina Aldegonda of Bourbon-Two Sicilies was the sixth and youngest child of Prince Ferdinand Pius of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Calabria and his wife Princess Maria Ludwiga Theresia of Bavaria. Urraca chose not to celebrate her birthday, remarking: “How can a Bourbon celebrate on the day of the storming of the Bastille?” The princess had five older siblings: Princess Maria Antonietta (1898–1957); Princess Maria Cristina (1899–1985; married Manuel Sotomayor-Luna, Vice President of Ecuador); Prince Ruggiero, Duke of Noto (1901–1914), Princess Barbara (1902–1927; married Count Franz Xaver zu Stolberg-Wernigerode), and Princess Lucia (1908–2001; married Prince Eugenio of Savoy, Duke of Ancona). The Duke and Duchess of Calabria lived with their children at Villa Amsee just outside Lindau.
|Princess Urraca of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and Princess Michael of Kent, Venice, 1990.
Photograph (c) Marcellino Radogna.
|Press report on the 1957 accident.
|The grave of Princess Urraca of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.