1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Amedeo Ferdinando Maria di Savoia

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AMEDEO FERDINANDO MARIA DI SAVOIA, duke of Aosta (1845–1890), third son of Victor Emmanuel II., king of Italy, and of Adelaide, archduchess of Austria, was born at Turin on the 30th of May 1845. Entering the army as captain in 1859 he fought through the campaign of 1866 with the rank of major-general, leading his brigade into action at Custozza and being wounded at Monte Torre. In May 1867 he married the princess Maria Carlotta del Pozzo della Cisterna. In 1868 he was created vice-admiral of the Italian navy, but, two years later, left Italy to ascend the Spanish throne, his reluctance to accept the invitation of the Cortes having been overridden by the Italian cabinet. On the 16th of November 1870 he was proclaimed king of Spain by the Cortes; but, before he could arrive at Madrid, Marshal Prim, chief promoter of his candidature, was assassinated. Undeterred by rumours of a plot against his own life, Amedeo entered Madrid alone, riding at some distance from his suite to the church where Marshal Prim's body lay in state. His efforts as constitutional king were paralysed by the rivalry between the various Spanish factions, but with the approval of his father he rejected all idea of a coup d'état. Though warned of a plot against his life (August 18, 1872) he refused to take precautions, and, while returning from Buen Retiro to Madrid in company with the queen, was repeatedly shot at in Via Avenal. The royal carriage was struck by several revolver and rifle bullets, the horses wounded, but its occupants escaped unhurt. A period of calm followed the outrage. On the 11th of February 1873, however, Amedeo, abandoned by his partisans and attacked more fiercely than ever by his opponents, signed his abdication. Upon returning to Italy he was cordially welcomed and reinstated in his former position. His consort, whose health had been undermined by anxiety in Spain, died on the 3rd of November 1876. Not until the 11th of September 1888 did Arnedeo contract his second marriage, with his niece Princess Letitia Bonaparte. Less than two years later (January 18, 1890) he died at Turin in the arms of his elder brother, King Humbert I., leaving four children—the duke of Aosta, the count of Turin, the duke of the Abruzzi (issue of his first marriage), and the count of Salemi. (H. W. S.)