Saturday, November 2, 2013

Princess Marie Jose Entre Belgique et Italie

Princess Marie-José of Belgium (1906-2001) was the only daughter of King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians.   In 1930, she married Umberto, Prince of Piedmont, heir to the Italian throne. 

The marriage was an arrangement that failed abysmally.  The couple were the parents of three daughters and one son.  In May 1946, Umberto succeeded to the throne after his father, King Vittorio Emanuele abdicated.  After a reign for a mere 44 days, the monarchy collapsed in a public referendum, where the majority voted for a republic. Umberto and Marie Jose went into exile, going their separate ways. 

The marriage between the only daughter of the King and Queen of the Belgians and the only son of the King and Queen of Italy was a political coup, a dynastic arrangement, long planned between two of the most prominent Catholic monarchies.

In 2012, an exhibition of Marie Jose's clothes and the preparation for the marriage opened in Brussels at the Musées royaux d'Art et d'Histoire under the patronage of Queen Paola.  

The exhibition was supported by the La Fondation Humbert II and Marie José de Savoie.  Belgian publisher Lannoo published a French-language companion book,  La Princesse  Marie José Entre Belgique et Italie  Une garde-robe royale written and edited by Marguerte Coppens.  (The title translates to Princess Marie José between Belgium and Italy. A royal wardrobe.)

Marie José's marriage was a marriage of state ... and a marriage of the heart.  Her trousseau would be a combination of Belgian and Italian designs, and as the Princess of Piedmont, wife of the heir apparent, Marie-José would become the standard bearer for Italian fashion, 

This book also is the exhibition catalog so there will are photographs and descriptions of the clothes, jewels, photographs and other items that were included in the exhibit.

128 pages.  French text.  Plenty of illustrations.   The book can be ordered from the museum's shop.

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