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Long wait ends for Italian prince

By Eugenio Ciuccetti, CNN Italia

'Nearly a page in history' was made with return of Italian royal family
'Nearly a page in history' was made with return of Italian royal family

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ROME, Italy (CNN) -- Prince Vittorio Emanuele had been lobbying the Italian parliament for years to be allowed to return to his homeland after 56 years in exile, even taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Over the summer, Parliament gave final approval to lifting the 1948 constitutional ban on all male descendants of King Umberto II.

The prince's father became king after Victor Emmanuel III abdicated on May 9, 1946. But Umberto lasted only a month before a referendum in which Italians voted to scrap the monarchy and make the country a republic.

Vittorio Emanuele, who was born on February 16, 1937 in Naples, left Italy when he was just nine and was brought up in Switzerland.

He has three sisters, Maria Pia, Maria Gabriella and Maria Beatrice, who have often been in disagreement each other over their inheritance.

Vittorio Emanuele attended Rosey and Pareto Colleges in Lousanne, Switzerland, and then he studied Economics at Geneve University, still in Switzerland.

He married his long time fiancee, Maria Doria, in 1954. The civil marriage was celebrated in Las Vegas, Nevada. The church wedding was celebrated shortly after in Tehran, hosted by his friend Shah Reza Palhavi.

In 1978, a German youth called Dirk Jeerd Hame was shot dead by Vittorio Emanuele during an altercation on the Cavallo Island in Corsica. The prince remained in jail for 23 days until what had been described as murder was dismissed as an accident and he was freed.

In 1981, Vittorio Emanuele's name was found among those belonging to the illegal and obscure Masonic Lodge P2, which was accused at the time of conspiring against the democratic institutions and closed by Italian authorities.

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