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The Forgotten Princess

Count Raymondo Guerini of Savoy, Kt.T

The Forgotten Princess

Count Raymondo Guerini of Savoy, Kt.T

Copyright © 2017 by Count Raymondo Guerini of Savoy, Kt.T

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Count Raymondo Guerini of Savoia Kt.T was born in Southern Cross, Western Australia, where he worked on the family farm. Initially planning to become a priest, he was instead compelled to marry the love of his life, now the Countess Anna Guerini.

Count Raymondo is an entrepreneur, and has travelled all over the world buying diamonds and gemstones for his business, Jewellery by the House of Savoy.

The Forgotten Princess, which is the true story of his mother’s family and life, is the count’s first book. He is currently working on his second volume, on the Knights Templar, the ancient and storied military order of which he is a member.

This is a story about the Royal Savoy family of Italy, the noble Malatesta and Guerini families, and their well-kept secrets about a forgotten princess.

Savoy was a region in Italy named after the Royal Savoy family, which went on to unite Italy as one nation and became the royal family of Italy. What is now left of Savoy is part of France and the north of Italy. That part of France is called Savoy, and that part of Italy is often referred to as Piedmont.

The House of Savoy descended from Umberto I, Count of Sabaudia, who was born in around 980, in what is now the province of Lazio. However, Umberto’s family is thought to have originated near Magdeburg in Saxony, not far from the German city of Berlin.

Umberto was named count in 1003. He was very intelligent and skilled in diplomacy, so it did not take him long to realise that gaining control over the strategic mountain passes in the Alps would be an advantage to him and his family in the future. Once he had gained control of them, travellers had to pay a handsome fee to use them. This was the humble but significant origin of the Savoy family’s power and fortune.

Umberto I, Count of Sabaudia

Another important part of the family’s success was Umberto’s marriage to Ancilla of Lenzburg, the daughter of the Burgundian master of ceremonies. They had at least four sons. Two of them were bishops at the Abbey of Saint Maurice on the Rhone, east of Lake Genova.

Saint Maurice is still the patron saint of the Royal House of Savoy, over a thousand years later. He was the leader of the legendary third century Roman Theban Legion. His legion was made up of six thousand six hundred and sixty-six men, all of whom were Christian. They were quartered in the east, until the Emperor Maximian ordered them to march to Gaul, to fight against the rebels of Burgundy (it was customary for Romans to move troops to and from distant parts of the empire, so Roman-trained soldiers would not participate in uprisings to free their native lands.) The legionaries were ordered to sacrifice to pagan gods, but refused. They also objected to being asked to fight against other Christians. This was considered mutiny, and the legion was slaughtered.

Saint Maurice and the Theban Legion

Saint Maurice was one of the favourite and most widely venerated saints of that time. He was the patron saint of several professions, places, and kingdoms. He is also revered in the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Umberto’s son, Amadeus, became head of the House of Savoy in 1030–1052 or 1056. But he had no children, so Umberto’s second son, Otto I of Savoy, ascended the throne in 1056–1060.

Amadeus I

Otto married the Marchioness Adelaide of Turin and Pinerolo; this was a good marriage, as she had large holdings of land in Turin in the north of Italy, especially in the Susa Valley, Auriate, and Asti. Adelaide also inherited property in Albenga, Alba, Bredulo and Ventimiglia. All this property was immediately combined with the House of Savoy’s possessions, giving Otto great power in the region. Otto and Adelaide had five children.

Pietro I succeeded his father Otto as count in 1060. He married Agnes of Aquitaine, but they only had two daughters, which was a great disappointment to them both. Otherwise, Pietro’s life is obscure, and mentioned in very few documents. During his reign, his mother completely overshadowed him. The only thing we know for sure is that he had very good relations with the papacy and, for a time, the Holy Roman Emperor. He ruled the House of Savoy until 1078.

Pietro’s brother, Amadeus II was the next count. He married Joan, daughter of Girard, Count of Burgundy, and they had several children. For some reason, neither his eldest son, William, nor any of his other children succeeded him. This remains a mystery; there are no written documents explaining it. But we do know who did succeed Amadeus II: his brother, Umberto II, who became count in 1080, after Pietro had ruled for just two years.

Humbert II, on the other hand, had a long reign, from 1080 to 1103. He married Gisela of Burgundy, daughter of William, Count of Burgundy. They had a very large family—seven children, in fact: Amadeus (who became the next count), William (who was Bishop of Liege), Adelaide (who married Louis VI of France), Umberto, Reginald, and Guy (who was Abbey of Namur.)

Amadeus III was born in Garegnano; he was married to Adelaide, Countess Consort of Savoy. But they had no children, and he later married Mahaut of Albon (the sister of Guy IV le Dauphin, Count of Albon). Amadeus and Adelaide had ten children. He was Count of Savoy and Maurienne from 1103 until his death in April 1148.

Amadeus had a strong tendency to exaggerate his titles, claiming to be Duke of Lombardy, Duke of Burgundy, Duke of Chablais, and Vicar of the Holy Roman Empire, a title which had been given to his father by the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV.

He helped to restore the Abbey of St Maurice of Agaune, in which the former Kings of Burgundy had been crowned, and was abbot of the Abbey until 1147. He also founded the Abbey of St Sulpicius in Bugey, Tamie Abbey in the Bauges, and Hautecombe Abbey on the Lac du Bourgey.

In 1128, Amadeus extended his realm, known as Old Chablais, adding to it the region extending from the Arve to the Dranse d’Abondance. This was called New Chablais. Its capital was at Saint-Maurice.

Amadeus fought wars with his brother-in-law Guy, who was killed at the battle of Montmeillan. Louis VI of France—another brother-in-law, known as Louis the Fat—attempted to confiscate Savoy, but Peter the Hermit, later famous for his role in the People’s Crusade, interceded and Louis allowed Amadeus to keep his lands, provided he went on crusade—which he did, with his nephew, Louis VI’s son, Louis VII (‘the Younger’).

Amadeus was succeeded by his eldest son Umberto III, who reigned from 1149 to 1189. He was unhappy at being born in to a noble family, as he much preferred the seclusion of monastery life; in fact, he had to be persuaded to renounce his monastic celibacy to give his land an heir.

His first wife was Faidiva of Toulouse, daughter of Alphonse I. She died childless, very young. Umberto’s second marriage to Gertrude of Flanders was also childless, and ended in divorce. His third marriage, to Clementia of Zahringen, daughter of Conrad I, produced two daughters. He was finally prevailed upon to marry for a fourth time. He did so reluctantly, but this marriage to Beatrice of Viennois finally produced a son, Thomas I. His birth was seen as a miracle, given how hard it had been for the monkish Umberto to conceive a male heir. Umberto was blessed three times by St Anthelm, and this seems to have done the trick.

Umberto III had four wives, Faidiva of Toulouse, Gertrude of Flanders, Clementia of Zahringen and Beatrice of Viennois

Gertrude of Flanders

Thomas ultimately become count when Umberto III died on March 4th, 1188. But he was still a minor, so a council of regency was established, comprising his mother Beatrice, Boniface I of Montferrat and the Bishop of Saint Jean-de Maurienne. Nonetheless, Thomas I was officially the Count of Savoy from 1189 to 1233.

He was very different from his father. He had strong martial abilities, great energy, and a brilliance that Umberto had lacked. Despite his youth, Savoy enjoyed a golden age under his leadership. When he came of age in 1191, he pushed northwest into new territories, while granting the Aosta Valley the right to administrative and political autonomy. He later conquered Vaud, Bugey and Carignano. In 1195, he ambushed a travelling party that was escorting Margaret, daughter of Count William I of Genova to France. There, she was to have been wed to King Philip II of France.

Thomas I

When Thomas saw Margaret for the first time, he could hardly take his eyes off her, he was so besotted by her beauty. He knew then and there that he had to have her for himself. There was no way he was going to let her go, so he simply carried her off and married her himself. This caused great friction between Philip and himself for some time to come, as well as with Margaret’s father. But the marriage was very successful; Margaret and Thomas had eight sons and six daughters.

Thomas was succeeded by his firstborn son, Amadeus IV, in 1233. But Amadeus had to fight two of his brothers for the inheritance of Savoy lands. Pietero and Aimone raised a force in the Aosta Valley, which Amadeus put down with the help of his brother Tomas and his sons-in-law, Manfred III of Saluzzo and Boniface II of Montferrat.

Amadeus married twice, first Anne of Burgundy, with whom he had two daughters, and then Cecilia of Baux.

Cecilia bore him four children, including his son and successor, Boniface.

Boniface was Count of Savoy from 1253 to 1263, but was mortally wounded on the battlefield in 1263; he had not married and left no heir, being succeeded by his uncle, Peter II.


Peter, nicknamed ‘Little Charlemagne,’ was Count of Savoy from 1263 to 1268. As well as being uncle to the previous count, Peter was the uncle of Henry III of England’s wife, Queen Eleanor. Long before becoming Count of Savoy, he had been given the Honour of Richmond by Henry. He was also given land between the Strand and the Thames, where he built the Savoy Palace in 1263. This is still the site of the Savoy Hotel in London today. Peter was married to Agnes of Faucigny and had only one daughter. He was succeeded by Philip I.

Peter II

Philip I was born at Aiguebelle, Savoy, the eighth son of Thomas I. When, against all expectations, Philip I became the count, he gave up his church offices and married Adelaide, Countess Palatine of Burgundy. She died childless, and he appointed his nephew, Amadeus, as his successor in 1285.

Amadeus V was born at Le Bourget-du-Lac, the younger brother of Thomas III of Piedmont, who died in 1282. Thomas’s eldest son, Philip I of Piedmont, had a stronger claim to the county than Amadeus, but Philip was too young to press his claim. Amadeus V secured his power by offering Philip control of Turin and Pinerolo. Similarly, Amadeus won the support of his younger brother Louis by offering him Vaud as a hereditary barony.

In 1285, Amadeus was declared protector of Genova, although the hereditary title had belonged to Amadeus II of Genova; the Bishop of Geneva granted it to Amadeus of Savoy because the bishop was in conflict with the Count of Geneva—who was also at war with the Savoy.

Through his marriage to Sybille, Countess of Bugey and Bresse, Amadeus incorporated those Burgundian districts into his property—she also bore him eight children. Later he acquired the Chambery fortress from Hugh of la Rochette. Chambery became his primary residence during the following years; he decorated it with paintings of his ancestors. After important military victories, he also signed the Treaty of Annemasse with the Count of Geneva and the Dauphin of Viennois, who became his vassals. He pursued an alliance with France, and received Maulevrier in Normandy for his troubles.

However, when the French took Lyon, Amadeus realised that they hoped to expand their territories towards the Alps, and allied himself to the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VII, who was married to Amadeus’s sister-in-law, Margaret of Brabant.

Henry awarded Amadeus V the title of Imperial Vicar for the Kingdom of Italy and a claim to the Asti region as well.

Even late in his life, Amadeus found his way into battle. In 1315, for instance, he helped the Knights Hospitaller defend Rhodes against the Turks. By then he had remarried, this time to Marie, daughter of John I, Duke of Brabant. They had four children before he died on October 16, 1323.

Amadeus V

Amadeus’s son Edward, known as ‘The Liberal,’ became Count of Savoy from 1323. He was the first son of Amadeus’s first wife, Sybille, and himself married Blanche of Burgundy. They had a daughter, but when Edward died in 1329, he left no male heir. He was succeeded by his younger brother, Aymon, known as ‘The Peaceful.’

Aymon, who was born in Chambery, had to contest Edward’s daughter Joan for the title of count. Her claim was controversial, because Savoy held to the Salic law—according to which only men could inherit titles—but she was backed by her husband, John III, Duke of Brittany. Ultimately the two sides reached a settlement; Aymon became count, but had to make a large payment to Joan and John.

Aymon married Yolande Palaeologina, granddaughter of Byzantine Emperor Andronikos II. They had five children, but only two of them lived to adulthood. Yolande died in childbirth in 1342; Aymon died just seven months later in 1343.

Aymon of Savoy and Yolande Palaeologina of Montferrat

Amadeus VI succeeded his father Aymon in 1343. He was only nine at the time, so he worked with regents. After Aymon’s death, Joan again made a claim on Savoy; when she died, she left the county to the Duke of Orleans. But the Duke gave up his claim for a large annual payment, just as Joan had done for Aymon.

In 1349, Humbert II de La Tour du Pin, Dauphin de Viennois, surrendered his title and principality to the French crown, and retired to a Dominican monastery. The young prince Charles (who would become Charles V of France) was given the province to rule; he thus received the title Dauphin, which was held by all French heirs apparent after him.

Amadeus was angered by this, for it created a formidable neighbour to Savoy. He went to war with Hugh of Geneva, whose family was very powerful in the Dauphiné. Amadeus finally defeated him in 1354, winning great concessions and properties in the process. He agreed to give up territories in Dauphiné beyond the rivers Rhone and Guiers, in exchange for recognition as the undisputed sovereign of Faucigny and Gex. He became Suzerain Lord over the Counts of Genevois, and started to receive tribute from the Marquis of Saluzzo.

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