Tomislav II of Croatia, 4th Duke of Aosta

Tomislav II of Croatia, 4th Duke of Aosta

Tomislav II of Croatia (born "Prince Aimone of Savoy"; 9 March 1900 Torino, Italy; died 29 January 1948 Buenos Aires, Argentina) was recognised by the Axis powers during World War II as King of the Nazi-puppet [ [ Independent State of Croatia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia ] ] [ [ USHMM about Independent State of Croatia] ] Independent State of Croatia. Accepting the crown on May 18, 1941 he reigned until 31 July, 1943 when he abdicated. Born a prince of the House of Savoy he succeeded to the title Duke of Aosta on 3 March 1942.

Early life

Aimone d'Aosta was born in Turin. He was the second son of Prince Emanuele Filiberto, 2nd Duke of Aosta (son of Amadeus I of Spain and Princess Maria Vittoria) and Princess Hélène (daughter of Prince Philippe of Orléans and the Princess Marie Isabelle of Orléans). His great grandfather was King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, making him a member of the House of Savoy.

On 22 September 1904 he was given the title Duke of Spoleto for life. [ [ The Peerage] ]

In 1929, twenty years after his uncle the Duke of the Abruzzi had attempted to climb K2 in Karakorum, Prince Aimone lead an expedition to Karakorum. A member of the expedition was Ardito Desio. Due to the failure to climb K2 twenty years earlier, Prince Aimone's expedition concentrated solely on scientific work. [ [ K2 - The Savage Mountain] ] [ [ K2 2004 - 50 years later] ]

After being linked with Infanta Beatriz of Spain the daughter of King Alfonso XIII, [Citation| title =Milestones| newspaper =Time Magazine| year =1930| date =April 21, 1930| url =,9171,739128,00.html] he married on July 1, 1939 in Florence, Princess Irene of Greece the daughter of King Constantine I and Princess Sophie of Prussia. They had a son, Prince Amedeo, on 27 September 1943. [ [ Online Gotha] ]

King of Croatia

On 18 May 1941 a ceremony took place at the Quirinal Palace were Ante Pavelić who led a delegation of Croats asked King Victor Emmanuel III to name a member of the House of Savoy, King of Croatia. Aimone was then officially named King by his cousin Victor Emmanuel III. [cite book| last =Packard| first =Reynolds| title =Balcony Empire: Fascist Italy at War| publisher =Kessinger Publishing| date =2005| pages =190| isbn =1417985283 ] The Independent State of Croatia as it was officially known covered most of present day states of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. On assuming the Crown of Zvonimir he took the regnal name Tomislav II in memory of Tomislav I the first Croatian king. [ Worldstatesmen] ] Originally on learning that he had been named King of Croatia he told close colleagues that he thought his nomination was a bad joke by his cousin King Victor Emmanuel III though he accepted the crown out of a sense of duty.cite book| last =Petacco| first =Arrigo| title =A Tragedy Revealed: The Story of the Italian Population of Istria, Dalmatia, and Venezia Giulia| publisher =University of Toronto Press| date =2005| pages =26, 27| isbn =0802039219 ] The Italian Foreign Minister and Benito Mussolini's son in law Count Ciano's informants said of Aimone "The Duke doesn't give a damn about Croatia and wants only money, money and more money."

He was due to be crowned in Tomislavgrad, in modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina but he refused to go to Croatia due to the "Dalmatian question" which arose due to Italy taking some of Dalmatia's coastal territory. Aimone felt that Dalmatia "was a land that could never be Italianized" and was an obstacle to Italian-Croatian reconciliation. [cite book| last =Rodogno| first =Davide| title =Fascism's European Empire: Italian Occupation During the Second World War| publisher =Cambridge University Press| date =2006| location =| pages =95| isbn =0521845157 ] Another reason for never setting foot in Croatia was that his safety could not be guaranteed.cite book | last = Tomasevich | first = Jozo | title = War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: Occupation and Collaboration | publisher = Stanford University Press | date = 2001 | pages = 138 | isbn = 0804736154 ] He never held any real authority throughout his reign as the Ustaše government had deprived the monarchy of most powers and reduced the status of the king to that of a figurehead. In spite of this he did have some symbolic powers such as the ability to grant noble titles. [ [ Balkan royalty] ]

Following the dismissal of Mussolini on 25 July 1943 he abdicated on 31 July on the orders of Victor Emmanuel III. With the Italian capitulation on 8 September, he formally renounced on October 12 his rights to the title shortly after the birth of his son who was given Zvonimir as one of his names. [Citation| title =Royal House of Italy| newspaper =European royal houses|url =] His full title as King was "King of Croatia, Prince of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Voivode of Dalmatia, Tuzla and Knin, Duke of Aosta (from 1942), Prince of Cisterna and of Belriguardo, Marquess of Voghera, and Count of Ponderano."

Duke of Aosta

Prince Aimone became 4th Duke of Aosta on 3 March 1942, following the death of his elder brother Prince Amedeo, 3rd Duke of Aosta, in a British Prisoner of War camp in Tanganyika.

In the late months of World War II he became the commander of the Italian Naval Base of Taranto but he was sacked from his post for his criticism of the judges that had found General Mario Roatta guilty. [Citation| title =A Duke Departs| newspaper =Time Magazine| year =1945| date =April 23 1945| url =,9171,855148,00.html]

During his naval career he reached the rank of Ammiraglio di Squadra.

He died in Buenos Aires in 1948.

Orders and decorations


name_decoration=Knight of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation
complete_order=Order of the Most Holy Annunciation

name_decoration=Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus
complete_order=Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus

name_decoration=Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy
complete_order=Order of the Crown of Italy

name_decoration=Knight of the Civil Order of the Royal House of Savoy
complete_order=Civil Order of Savoy

name_decoration=Knight of the Order of Merit pro Merito Melitensi of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta
complete_order=Order pro merito Melitensi

name_decoration=Knight Grand Cross of the Military Order of Italy
complete_order=Military Order of Italy

name_decoration=Silver Medal of Military Valor
complete_order=Silver Medal of Military Valor

name_decoration= 2 Bronze Medal of Military Valor
complete_order=Bronze Medal of Military Valor

name_decoration=Military Valour War Cross of Italy
complete_order=List of military decorations

name_decoration=Commemorative Victory Medal (1918)
complete_order=Victory Medal (United Kingdom)

name_decoration=Medal of Honour for Long-time Maritime Navigation (20 years)
complete_order=Military Honour Maritime Medal of Italy


External links

*cite news
title=Crown of Zvonimir
work=Time Magazine

- s-ttl|title=Duke of Aosta
years=3 March 1942–29 January 1948

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