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The “Principality” of Seborga announces new monarch

 Marcello Menegatto, Photo: AP

Marcello Menegatto, Photo: AP

In December of 2009, a previous post noted the death of the Giorgio Carbone, the man who saw himself as the “Prince” of the Italian town of Seborga. Today, The Telegraph reports that Carbone’s successor has been elected:

Marcello Menegatto, 31, was elected monarch of the “kingdom” of Seborga by a majority of the territory’s 360 inhabitants.

He has been dubbed The King of Nylon but he has a choice of either calling himself His Tremendousness Marcello I or Giorgio II, in honour of his predecessor, a flower grower who styled himself His Tremendousness Giorgio I.

A former champion sailor and the heir to a hosiery company, he has big plans for the little principality, including building a new hotel, attracting more tourists and providing new jobs.

“I want to create new infrastructure and work for our people,” said Mr Menegatto, as he was carried in triumph on the shoulders of his supporters after being elected on Sunday. “I will continue the fight for Seborga’s independence.” One of his first tasks will be to decide on his official title. The His Tremendousness Giorgio I was really called Giorgio Carbone. He died in November, aged 73, and the fact that he had no children raised fears that Seborga’s days as a monarchy were at an end.

He was elected in 1963 and spent nearly 50 years championing the rights of Seborga, which consists of a single village on the Italian Riviera, close to the border with France.

Giorgio I claimed that Seborga should be recognised as an independent state because it had never been formally included in the unification of Italy in the 19th century.

“Serborghini”, as inhabitants are called, maintain that their village was a principality of the Holy Roman Empire from the 11th century until 1729, when it was acquired by the Prince of Piedmont.

They insist that when Italy was united under the Savoy dynasty in 1861, Seborga was not formally listed as being part of the newly formed state.

The village has its own currency, stamps and a flag – a white cross on a blue background.

An amazing story! But, as I indicated previously, there is no basis in international law for Seborga’s claim to sovereignty.

(HT: Joe Grieboski)

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Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.