ITALY: The Little King

By the time it produced Prince Victor Emmanuel, the 900-year-old House of Savoy was wearing a bit thin. The Prince's father, King Umberto I, decided to improve the breed by marrying off little (5 ft. 3 in.) Victor booming, strapping (6 ft.) Elena, daughter of Montenegro's peasant king, Nicholas. In his 46 years as King of Italy, and sometime ruler of Albania and Ethiopia, Victor Emmanuel confirmed his father's early suspicion that there was room for improvement.

King's Ransom. By some standards Victor Emmanuel seemed to do very well indeed. Canny King Umberto took out £1,000,000 insurance a short...

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