Newsroom > Press Releases
Contact MZI

December 17, 2010

Italian Royal Couple Attend Ball Benefiting American Foundation of Savoy Orders’ Disaster Relief

Their Royal Highnesses Prince Victor Emmanuel and Princess Marina of Savoy were in New York City for a ten-day visit, December 7 - 16, 2010. The Prince is the only son of the last King of Italy, Umberto II. They came to participate in the Ballo di Savoia (Savoy Ball) and other events organized by the American Delegation of Savoy Orders and its charitable arm, the American Foundation of Savoy Orders.

Among the many events, on Wednesday evening, December 8, Their Royal Highnesses attended a cocktail reception in their honor at the beautiful Manhattan townhouse of Knight Commander Marco Grassi and Dame Commander Cristina Grassi. More than 30 Benefactors, Sponsors and Patrons of the Ballo di Savoia, gathered at the Grassi residence to meet Their Royal Highnesses.

On Friday evening, December 10, Their Royal Highnesses attended a Welcome Reception in their honor at the Knickerbocker Club. Prior to the Reception, in a private ceremony, the Prince conferred the highest grade of the Savoy Order of Sts. Maurice and Lazarus, that of Knight Grand Cross, upon the His Excellency Most Reverend John L. Myers, Archbishop of Newark.

The morning of Saturday, December 11, HRH Prince Victor Emmanuel of Savoy presided over the installation and promotion ceremony of knights and dames of the Savoy Orders on the main altar of the famed Cathedral of Saint Patrick. He conferred honors on 24 knights and dames during the Investiture Mass. The Prince’s reaction to the majestic surroundings, as well as the playing of the Royal Anthem “Inno Sardo Nazionale,” was nostalgic for him as he commented afterwards: “This has all been a great and memorable ceremony for me in this important site in New York, and I shall long remember it. I thank you especially for the playing of the Inno Sardo.”

The actual Ballo di Savoia took place on Saturday evening, December 11, the highlight of Their Royal Highnesses’ New York City visit, that was a glittering white-tie gala reception, dinner and ball at the Colony Club, the Ballo di Savoia (Savoy Ball), benefiting the charitable works of the Savoy Foundation. A record crowd of over 300 attended. Proceeds from the gala are for the Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund and to supplement a substantial grant earlier this year from the Mark Pigott Family that established the Savoy Orders Pigott Scholarship Fund. This fund will provide financial assistance for college and graduate level study in the humanities and international affairs. Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, delivered the Invocation. Guests danced to the music of the Mitch Kahn Orchestra.

A final highlight of the Royal visit took place on December 12, when His Excellency Most Reverend Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, greeted Their Royal Highnesses and members of the Savoy Orders at Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick. They and the knights and dames of the Savoy Orders processed to the altar to be seated in the front of the Cathedral, and were greeted with a record crowd of some 3000 attendees for services during the Advent season. The Prince and Princess presented the gifts to the Archbishop during the Offertory of the Mass. Following the Mass, Archbishop Dolan met with Their Royal Highnesses and the members of the Savoy Orders for photographs in front of the Cathedral Christmas tree.

The American Delegation of Savoy Orders is the North American chapter of the Dynastic Orders of the Royal House of Savoy, among the oldest orders of chivalry in the world. Their origins and principles, traditions and humanitarian goals, like those of the Royal House of Savoy that has the hereditary right to confer them, date back a thousand years. Prince Victor Emmanuel is XVII Grand Master of the Savoy Order of Sts. Maurice and Lazarus, two ancient orders combined by Pope Gregory XIII in 1572. He is also VI Grand Master of the Savoy Order of Civil Merit, an order founded in 1830 by his great, great, great grandfather, King Charles Albert of Sardinia/Piedmont.

The American Foundation of Savoy Orders, Incorporated was established in 1993 to serve as the charitable arm of the American Delegation of Savoy Orders in North America. It has contributed substantial sums to medical, poverty and educational causes in the name of the Royal House of Savoy. Its most recent grant was a $40,000 contribution to Doctors without Borders for use in relief work for victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti earlier this year. This year it launched a Scholarship program for college and graduate students in the humanities and international relations. The American Foundation of Savoy Orders is an NGO in Roster Consultative Status with the Economic and social council of the United Nations.

For more details or high resolution pictures please contact:

Larissa Van Duser 212-972-1100, ext. 245
E-mail: AmSavoy(at)aol(dot)com

Mira Zivkovich 212-366-5409       
E-mail: mira(at)mziglobal(dot)com

For more information, please view the official press release.