“The end of a world always reopens to another world”. Thus begins Prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia when we call him following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. A world has closed. Another, perhaps characterized by greater uncertainties and greater challenges, is beginning.
Your Highness, how do you judge Elizabeth’s reign?
It was very important, as was his person. He has been able, for more than 70 years, to lead the English monarchy and also the European one. She was a very strong symbol, a much loved woman. I love to say that she is a bit like the grandmother, the mother, perhaps also the sister of the English and of all of us. We have known nothing but her in England. She was a woman of great intelligence, with a great responsibility that began the moment she became Queen.
Is it really the end of a world?
It’s true, but I like to say that the end of an era also marks the beginning of another era. I, who also know King Charles quite well, can say that he is a person who can do a lot for the English monarchy. I really believe in him. He is an intelligent person and has always been on the cutting edge. Today there is a lot of talk about ecological transition: well he had been talking about it for some time and was doing something about it with his foundations. Let’s see, for example, the zero kilometer he did in the residences and in the various buildings. King Charles is a very sensitive man. He is also an artist because he is a good painter. He loves nature, people. I think he could be a great king, and after all we have seen him around Buckingham Palace, with many people who were there to greet and cheer him.
Will the British monarchy resist the queen’s death?
King Charles had Queen Elizabeth and, just thinking of that, there will be great respect for him and for the monarchy. I have no doubt that the monarchy can last for many more years because the English people love the monarchy, they loved their queen yesterday and they love their king today. And perhaps it also needs it, like all monarchies.
Because the monarchy brings people together, brings them together. It’s not like parties that divide people. The monarchy unites people around the crown, the symbol. And this the British understood.
You referred to the queen as the symbol of European monarchies. Can you explain better what you mean by yourself?
Queen Elizabeth was the queen of queens. Many, if not all royal families looked to her as a model. I personally looked to the queen as a model and I think this applies to everyone else as well. She has been an extraordinary woman over the past 70 years.
What are the greatest teachings he brings home from Elizabeth’s reign?
I was very lucky to be able to meet her several times. I would like to compare this circumstance to my meeting with Pope John Paul II. When you see these characters on television it is already a great emotion. But when you get to reality from TV and you can interface with them, then it’s a whole other thing. They become symbols. The queen was a very nice woman who, no matter who you were, always gave you the impression that the moment she talked to you you were truly the only one in her eyes. She was a very knowledgeable woman and then I must say she was also very funny. She always had the right word, a great sense of humor. She is a woman who has remained on the rails of what she had to do without ever leaving them. Having also had very difficult moments and difficult decisions to make, she has always had a great deal of dignity and affection for her country and her people.