Their Majesties the King and Queen in the Park at Racconigi


This World War I-era postcard shows King Victor Emmanuel III (1869‒1947) and his wife, Elena of Montenegro (1873–1952), at the Castle of Racconigi, one of the official residences of the House of Savoy. Famous for its landscape gardens, the castle is located in Cuneo Province, in the Piedmont region of Italy. Under the Italian constitution in effect at the time, the king technically had sweeping powers, and in May 1915, Victor Emmanuel, at the instigation of Prime Minister Antonio Salandra and Foreign Minister Sidney Sonnino, committed Italy to war with Austria-Hungary without consulting the Italian parliament. Most ordinary Italians opposed involvement in World War I and wanted Italy to remain neutral. Victor Emmanuel acceded to the throne in 1900, upon the death of his father, King Umberto I, and reigned until he abdicated in favor of his son Umberto on May 9, 1946. For much of the period after World War I, he was a mere figurehead under the dictator Benito Mussolini. Princess Elena Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro was the daughter of King Nicholas I of Montenegro and his wife, Princess Milena Vukotić. She was queen of Italy from 1900, when she married Victor Emmanuel III, until his abdication. Following the results of a referendum held on June 2, 1946, Italy became a republic, bringing to an end the Kingdom of Italy and rule by the House of Savoy. Victor Emmanuel and Elena went into exile in Egypt.

Date Created

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Title in Original Language

I.I. M.M. il Re e la Regina nel parco di Racconigi

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Physical Description

1 photograph ; black-and-white


  1. H. James Burgwyn, The Legend of the Mutilated Victory: Italy, the Great War, and the Paris Peace Conference, 1915‒1919 (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1993).

Last updated: November 14, 2017