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King Victor Emmanuel III
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    (November 11, 1869-December 28, 1947)
    Born in Naples, Italy
    King of Italy (1900-46)
    He was barely five feet tall, resulting in the nickname ‘the Bottle-Top King.’
    Despite public opposition, he personally intervened to bring Italy into World War I.
    When the Italian Fascists threatened to march on Rome, his top general reported that the army could rout them without any difficulty.
    Instead, he appointed their leader, Benito Mussolini, as prime minister.
    He adopted the title ‘Emperor of Ethiopia’ when Italy conquered that country (1936) and continued using the title even after the British drove out the Italians during WWII and restored Haile Selassie to the throne (1941).
    He became increasingly unpopular as World War II dragged on.
    He made a last-ditch attempt to preserve the monarchy by abdicating in favor of his son Umberto (May 9, 1946).
    It did not work as a month later a majority of Italians voted to abolish the monarchy in favor of a republic.
    His father, King Umberto I, was assassinated by an anarchist.
    He was married to Elena of Montenegro for 51 years.
    His daughter Mafalda died in a German concentration camp.
    After decades of being a figurehead, he dismissed Mussolini as prime minister and ordered his arrest (July 25, 1943).
    He was a prolific coin collector and published a 20-volume catalog that remains a standard reference book for Italian coinage.

Credit: C. Fishel

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