12 February 2015

Today's Princess: Marina Ricolfi-Doria

Via Pinterest
Happy 80th birthday to the only princess in history to have ever starred in a water skiing show in Florida! Modern princes have been known to find their wives in some unusual places but this is definitely one of the more outstanding examples of a young lady who likely never dreamed of wearing a tiara.

Swiss-born Marina Ricolfi-Doria was already a world championship water skier when she first met Prince Vittorio Emanuele, the heir to the last King of Italy. In fact, she had already won four consecutive European championships. King Umberto strongly disapproved of his son's chosen bride due to her low social status (former kings and heirs to defunct thrones seem to be more particular about marrying women with high rank.) So in the 1960s, while other heirs to existing thrones were marrying school teachers and seamstresses and Britain's Princess Margaret married a photographer, Vittorio was not allowed to marry Marina.

The couple was very patient and persistent. In 1971, after 11 years of waiting, they finally married and she took on his title as the new Princess of Naples. They had one son, the gorgeous Emanuele Filiberto, who now has two daughters with his French actress wife.

The family was not allowed to return to Italy until 2002 when he formally forfeited his dynastic rights; they now make Italy their main home. They are a colorful couple on the great European royal circuit--she for her colorful sartorial choices and he for his arrest record (although charges have been dropped or he has been acquitted of all accusations of corruption, exploitation of prostitution, murder, etc.)

Marina stands by her man, through it all. After all, she learned how to withstand turbulent waters while smiling at the top of a pyramid a long time ago.

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