Saturday, October 24, 2009
Engagement of Umberto & Marie-José
On October 24, 1929 (ominously enough, the infamous "Black Thursday," the first day of the Wall Street Crash) the engagement of Princess Marie-José of Belgium and Prince Umberto of Savoy was officially announced. During the celebrations in Brussels, as Umberto was laying a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Ferdinando de Rosa, a young Italian, attempted to assassinate the Prince (it was supposed to be a symbolic act to protest the Italian monarchy's compliance with Mussolini). Fortunately, he failed and was arrested. It was all over so quickly that Umberto and Marie-José did not even notice what had happened. Later, when people praised the Prince for his calm and courage, the Princess misunderstood and was deeply hurt: "Do you really need calm and courage to marry me?"