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Tomislav II of Croatia, 4th Duke of Aosta


Tomislav II of Croatia, 4th Duke of Aosta

Prince Aimone
Duke of Aosta
Held title 3 March 1942 –
29 January 1948
Predecessor Prince Amedeo, 3rd Duke
Successor Prince Amedeo, 5th Duke
Spouse Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark
Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta
Full name
Aimone Roberto Margherita Maria Giuseppe Torino of Savoy-Aosta
House House of Savoy
Father Prince Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Aosta
Mother Princess Hélène of Orléans
Born (1900-03-09)9 March 1900
Died 29 January 1948(1948-01-29) (aged 47)
Buenos Aires
Burial Basilica of Superga[1]
Religion Roman Catholic
Italian Royalty
House of Savoy

Victor Emmanuel II
Princess Marie Clothilde
Umberto I (born 1844)
Amadeo I, King of Spain (born 1845)
Maria Pia, Queen of Portugal (born 1847)
Vittoria (born 2 December 1848)
Emanuele Alberto (born 16 March 1851), Count of Mirafiori and Fontanafredda.
Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Aosta
Vittorio Emanuele, Count of Turin
Luigi, Duke of the Abruzzi
Umberto, Count of Salemi
Great Grandchildren
Amedeo, 3rd Duke of Aosta
Aimone, 4th Duke of Aosta
Great Great Grandchildren
Margherita, Archduchess of Austria-Este
Princess Maria Cristina
Amedeo, 5th Duke of Aosta
Great Great Great Grandchildren
Princess Bianca
Aimone, Duke of Apulia
Princess Mafalda
Umberto I
Victor Emmanuel III
Victor Emmanuel III
Princess Yolanda
Princess Mafalda
Umberto II
Giovanna, Queen of Bulgaria
Princess Maria
Umberto II
Princess Maria Pia
Victor Emmanuel, Prince of Naples
Princess Maria Gabriella
Princess Maria Beatrice
Emanuele Filiberto, Prince of Venice and Piedmont
Great Grandchildren
Princess Vittoria
Princess Luisa

Prince Aimone of Savoy-Aosta, Duke of Aosta (given names: Aimone Roberto Margherita Maria Giuseppe Torino; 9 March 1900 – 29 January 1948) was a prince of Italy's reigning House of Savoy and an officer of the Royal Italian Navy. The second son of Prince Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Aosta he was granted the title Duke of Spoleto on 22 September 1904. He inherited the title Duke of Aosta on 3 March 1942 following the death of his brother Prince Amedeo, in a British prisoner of war camp in Nairobi.

On 18 May 1941, he was nominated by his cousin, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy to assume the kingship of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), then an Italian client state[2][3] in occupied Yugoslavia.[4] He formally accepted, but refused to assume the kingship in opposition to the Italian annexation of the Dalmatia region,[5] and is therefore referred to in some sources as king designate.[6][7][8][9] Regardless, many sources refer to him as Tomislav II, King of Croatia (named after the medieval Croatian King Tomislav) and the nominal head of the NDH during its first two years (1941–1943).[10][11][12][13][14] He resigned the throne on 31 July 1943,[15][16][17] formally renouncing all rights to his Croatian title on 12 October 1943 a month after the Italian capitulation.[18]

Early life

Prince Aimone Roberto Margherita Maria Giuseppe Torino of Savoy-Aosta was born in Turin the second son of Prince Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Aosta (eldest son of Prince Amedeo, 1st Duke of Aosta (and sometime "King Amadeo I of Spain") by his wife, née Vittoria dal Pozzo, Principessa della Cisterna) and Princess Hélène of Orléans (daughter of Philippe, comte de Paris and Princess Marie Isabelle of Orléans). As his patrilinal great-grandfather was King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, he is a member of the House of Savoy.

On 22 September 1904, he was given the title Duke of Spoleto for life.[19] On 1 April 1921, Prince Aimone became a member of the Italian Senate. Princes of the House of Savoy became members of the Senate at age 21, obtaining the right to vote at age 25.[20]

In 1929, twenty years after his uncle Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi had attempted to climb K2 in Karakorum, Prince Aimone led an expedition to Karakorum. A member of the expedition was Ardito Desio. Due to the failure to climb K2 twenty years earlier, Prince Aimone's expedition concentrated solely on scientific work.[21][22]

After being romantically linked with Infanta Beatriz of Spain the daughter of King Alfonso XIII,[23] he married on 1 July 1939 in Florence with Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark the daughter of King Constantine I and Princess Sophie of Prussia. They had one son :

War years

Croatian throne

On 18 May 1941, a ceremony took place at the Quirinal Palace to which Ante Pavelić, the leader of the fascist Ustaše movement that had assumed power in Croatia in April 1941 after the invasion of Yugoslavia, led a delegation of Croats requesting that Italy's King Victor Emmanuel III name a member of the House of Savoy as king of Croatia. The Independent State of Croatia was a fascist puppet state that was partly under Italian and German control, covering most of present-day states of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but its leaders tried to assert their legitimacy by instating a monarchy that would resemble the medieval Croatian state.

Aimone was then officially named King by his cousin Victor Emmanuel III.[24] On assuming the Crown of Zvonimir he took the regnal name Tomislav II in memory of Tomislav, the first Croatian king.[25] Originally on learning that he had been named King of Croatia he told close colleagues that he thought his nomination was a bad joke by his cousin King Victor Emmanuel III though he accepted the crown out of a sense of duty.[26] The Italian Foreign Minister and Benito Mussolini's son in law Count Ciano's informants said of Aimone "The Duke doesn't give a damn about Croatia and wants only money, money and more money."[27] Ciano's diary noted a conversation between Aimone and himself, where Aimone was "proud of having been chosen King of Croatia, but has no exact idea of what he is supposed to do and is vaguely uneasy about it".[28] His full title as King was "King of Croatia, Prince of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Voivode of Dalmatia, Tuzla and Knin".[18]

He was due to be crowned in Duvno (Tomislavgrad), in modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina, but he refused to go to Croatia due to the "Dalmatian question" which arose due to Italy taking some of Dalmatia's coastal territory. Aimone felt that Dalmatia "was a land that could never be Italianized" and was an obstacle to Italian-Croatian reconciliation.[29] Other reasons why he never went to Croatia were because of an ongoing insurgency,[15] and that his safety could not be guaranteed.[27] Because of this he exercised what little power he had from Italy and Hungary,[15] however he never held any real authority throughout his reign as the Ustaše government had deprived the monarchy of most powers and reduced the status of the king to that of a figurehead.[26] In spite of this he did have some symbolic powers such as the ability to grant noble titles.[30] Count Gyula István Cseszneky de Milvány et Csesznek was the counselor to the King for Croatian affairs. Prince Aimone also established a Croatian office in Rome where he received confidential reports, official documents, and military, political and economic information from Croatia.[31] He reportedly made only one short visit to Croatia arriving in Zadar by a submarine and witnessing first hand the turmoil in the country.[32]

Prince Aimone succeeded to the title Duke of Aosta on 3 March 1942, following the death of his elder brother Prince Amedeo, 3rd Duke of Aosta, in a British Prisoner of War camp in Tanganyika.

Capitulation and aftermath

Following the dismissal of Mussolini on 25 July 1943, the prince abdicated on 31 July on the orders of Victor Emmanuel III. With the Italian capitulation on 8 September, he formally renounced his rights to the title on 12 October. This happened shortly after the birth of his son Amedeo (born 27 September 1943) who received Zvonimir as one of his given names.[18][25][33]

In the late months of World War II, he became the commander of the Italian Naval Base of Taranto but he was dismissed from his post for his criticism of the judges that had found General Mario Roatta guilty.[34] During his naval career he reached the rank of Squadron Admiral.


In 1947 following the birth of the Italian Republic the previous year, Prince Aimone left Italy for South America.[35] He died early the next year on 29 January 1948 in his hotel room in Buenos Aires.[36] His son Prince Amedeo succeeded him as Duke of Aosta.

Titles and styles[37]

  • 9/3/1900-21/9/1904 His Serene Highness Prince Aimone of Savoy-Aosta
  • 22/9/1904-17/5/1941 His Royal Highness The Duke of Spoleto
  • 18/5/1941-30/7/1943 His Majesty Tomislav II, King of Croatia, Prince of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Voivode of Dalmatia, Tuzla and Knin[18]
  • 30/7/1943-30/1/1948 His Royal Highness The Duke of Aosta, Principe della Cisterna e di Belriguardo, Marchese di Voghera, Conte di Ponderano

Orders and decorations

Knight of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation

Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus

Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy

Knight of the Civil Order of Savoy

Knight of the Order of Merit pro Merito Melitensi of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta

Knight Grand Cross of the Military Order of Italy

Silver Medal of Military Valor

2 Bronze Medal of Military Valor

Military Valour War Cross of Italy

Commemorative Victory Medal (1918)

Medal of Honour for Long-time Maritime Navigation (20 years)

Military Valour War Cross of Italy



External links

Prince Aimone, Duke of Aosta
Born: 9 March 1900 Died: 29 January 1948
Italian nobility
Regnal titles
Preceded by
None (Vacant)
King of Croatia
18 May 194131 July 1943
Preceded by
Prince Amedeo
Duke of Aosta
2nd creation
3 March 194229 January 1948
Succeeded by
Prince Amedeo
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Himself (resigned)
King of Croatia
31 July 194329 January 1948
Succeeded by
Prince Amedeo

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