December 25, 2002

The Capozzolas Rejoice as the Royals Return to Italy

It is truly a very happy time for the Capozzola family.

“After a half-century of exile, Italy’s former royals returned yesterday, ending the shame of banishment imposed for the monarchy’s support of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini during World War II,” the Associated Press reported today.

Victor Emmanuel, the son of the last installed king, and, if I must say, a most unworthy pretender to the throne, earlier this week made a brief visit to Italy and the Vatican City before returning to his home in exile in Switzerland.

“The former prince, exiled since age 9,” according to the A.P., “promised in February [he would return] to live out a dream of traveling around the nation like a tourist.”

That, apparently, in lieu of finding a real job, like the paper route the very little prince abandoned in 1948.

Victor Emmanuel’s 30-year-old son, Emmanuel Filiberto, who, unlike several of the Capozzola brothers, had never stepped foot in Italy before this week, described his visit to Italy in Disneyfied terms as, “something magical.”

(I understand Filiberto’s reaction had something to do with his having collected the funds due to his accounts at the newspaper, which, after accounting for inflation, took the 7,828.94 billion lire otherwise due down to something on the order of 12 dollars, for which the diminutive princeling was very grateful, lift ticket prices at Cortina having skyrocketed and all, don’t you know.)

The A.P. reports that Victor Emmanuel and his family, including wife, Marina Doria, who is of questionable heritage to say the least, exchanged Christmas greetings and gifts with the Pope. “Victor Emmanuel presented the Pope with two books about the Savoy family, descendants of the last king, and a print of a family member. The Pope gave them a rosary.”


I’m not going to tell you what the Capozzola family gave Il Papa for Christmas, but damn, it sure as hell wasn’t books, and I can assure the faithful that as a result of the Capozzola family’s gift, Christ’s vicar on earth will be sticking around for quite a while longer, thank you very much.

And a rosary in return? One rosary? Puh-leeze. I have at least 20 papal rosaries in my top desk drawer. Are we supposed to forget they give those away to the poor at the door of St. Peter’s by the boatload-as-if-on-the-shores-of-Galilee? I am, to say the least, unimpressed. I can’t tell you what Il Papa gave the family, but let’s just say it was a priceless work of an artist whose name begins M-I-C-H-E-L-A-N- . . . (I’d better stop there. Lawyers, you know.)

No doubt the Victor Emmanuels, whose primary source of income I have been told is a funeral home on South Broad St. in Philadelphia (of which there are legion, by the way), along with a few scattered vending machines in South Jersey, is beaming with pride given the patriarch’s recent meeting with the Pope. “John Paul offered his blessing, wished them Merry Christmas, and added, ‘Until next time,’ Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said,” according to A.P.’s report.

Sounds lovely, but reading between the lines, what I see in Il Papa’s words are: “Merry Christmas, get the hell out of here, you goombas, and I’ll see you next year . . . maybe. Next!”

That’s just got to hurt.

Even Italy’s loyal monarchists, each of whom I love dearly -- no great chore since their names fill but a small portion of my otherwise bulging address book -- are unimpressed with the most recent of royal wannabees.

“Retired Lt. Col. Francesco Silvestri, 83, said he was loyal to the royal family -- even if he did not think much of the current crop,” A.P. reports. “‘Poor things,’ he said. ‘These three are really nothing special compared to [sic] their ancestors.’”

I couldn’t agree more: Compared with those of us ready to assume our God-given right to govern the Papal States and their neighboring regions, these clowns have nothing to offer.


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