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Margaret of Savoy (1851–1926)

Margaret of Savoy (1851–1926)

Queen of Italy . Name variations: Margherita of Savoy; Margherita de Savoia. Born in 1851; died in 1926; daughter of Elizabeth of Saxony (1830–1912) and Ferdinand of Savoy (1822–1855), duke of Genoa; married her cousin Humbert I or Umberto I (1844–1900, son of Marie Adelaide of Austria and Victor Emmanuel II), king of Italy (r. 1878–1900); children: Victor Emmanuel III (1869–1947), king of Italy (r. 1900–1946, abdicated).

A proud and beautiful woman, Margaret of Savoy entered into a dynastic and loveless marriage with her cousin Umberto I who ascended the throne as the second king of Italy in 1878. Though a fervent nationalist who was also religious to the point of bigotry, Margaret could still charm republicans and inaugurated a new era at the Court Ball in 1875 when she attempted to reconcile Roman society by dancing the first quadrille with the leftist minister Baron Giovanni Nicotera. Later she would grumble that leaders of the Left were inexpert dancers. Considered a "queen to her fingertips," Margaret of Savoy would live long enough to back Benito Mussolini in his rise to power. Her husband had been assassinated at Monza by an anarchist in 1900.

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