Victor Emmanuel

Victor Emmanuel

Victor Emmanuel, the son of King Umberto I, was born in Naples, Italy, in 1869. Victor Emmanuel came to the throne when his father was assassinated at Monza in 1900. He was so small that he was nicknamed the 'dwarf' by Kaiser Wilhelm II.

On the outbreak of the First World War, Victor Emmanuel agreed with his government that Italy should remain neutral. However, at a secret meeting held in England on 26th April 1915, representatives of the Italian government agreed to enter the war in return for financial help and the granting of land currently under the control of Austria-Hungary.

After a series of riots in 1922, the king appointed Benito Mussolini as prime minister in an attempt to prevent a communist revolution in Italy. Mussolini headed a coalition of fascists and nationalists and parliamentary government continued until the murder of the socialist leader, Giacomo Matteotti in 1924.

During Mussolini's period in power, Victor Emmanuel was created Emperor of Ethiopia (1936) and King of Albania (1939). In July 1943, faced with an Allied invasion, the king forced Benito Mussolini to resign.

Victor Emmanuel withdrew from private life and hoped that the Italian people would accept his son, Umberto, as the new king. Victor Emmanuel abdicated in May 1946, but his son was rejected in a referendum and Italy became a republic. Victor Emmanuel III died in exile in Egypt in 1947.