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King of Italy facts for kids

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Corona ferrea, Monza, Tesoro del Duomo
Iron Crown of Lombardy

King of Italy (Latin: Rex Italiae; Italian: Re d'Italia) was the title given to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The first to take the title was Odoacer, a "barbarian" military leader, in the late 5th century, followed by the Ostrogothic kings up to the mid-6th century. With the Frankish conquest of Italy in the 8th century, the Carolingians assumed the title, which was maintained by subsequent Holy Roman Emperors throughout the Middle Ages. The last Emperor to claim the title was Charles V in the 16th century. During this period, the holders of the title were crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy.

Although Napoleon used the title from 1805 to 1814, it was not until the Unification of Italy in the 1860s that a Kingdom of Italy was restored. From 1861 the House of Savoy held the title as monarchs of the entire peninsula until the last King of Italy, Umberto II, exiled in 1946 when Italy became a republic.


After the deposition of the last Western Emperor in 476, Heruli leader Odoacer was appointed Dux Italiae ("Duke of Italy") by the reigning Byzantine Emperor Zeno. Later, the Germanic foederati, the Scirians and the Heruli, as well as a large segment of the Italic Roman army, proclaimed Odoacer Rex Italiae ("King of Italy"). In 493, the Ostrogothic king Theoderic the Great killed Odoacer, and set up a new dynasty of kings of Italy. Ostrogothic rule ended when Italy was reconquered by the Byzantine Empire in 552.

In 568, the Lombards entered the peninsula and ventured to recreate a barbarian kingdom in opposition to the Empire, establishing their authority over much of Italy, except the Exarchate of Ravenna and the duchies of Rome, Venetia, Naples and the southernmost portions. In the 8th century, estrangement between the Italians and the Byzantines allowed the Lombards to capture the remaining Roman enclaves in northern Italy. However, in 774, they were defeated by the Franks under Charlemagne, who deposed their king and took up the title "king of the Lombards". After the death of Charles the Fat in 887, Italy fell into instability and a number of kings attempted to establish themselves as independent Italian monarchs. During this period, known as the Feudal Anarchy (888-962), the title Rex Italicorum ("King of the Italians" or "King of the Italics") was introduced. After the breakup of the Frankish empire, Otto I added Italy to the Holy Roman Empire and continued the use of the title Rex Italicorum. The last to use this title was Henry II (1004-1024). Subsequent emperors used the title "King of Italy" until Charles V. At first they were crowned in Pavia, later Milan, and Charles was crowned in Bologna.

In 1805, Napoleon I was crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy at the Milan Cathedral. The next year, Holy Roman Emperor Francis II abdicated his imperial title. From the deposition of Napoleon I (1814) until the Italian Unification (1861), there was no Italian monarch claiming the overarching title. The Risorgimento successfully established a dynasty, the House of Savoy, over the whole peninsula, uniting the kingdoms of Sardinia and the Two Sicilies to form the modern Kingdom of Italy. The monarchy was superseded by the Italian Republic, after a constitutional referendum was held on 2 June 1946 after the World War II. The Italian monarchy formally ended on 12 June of that year, and Umberto II left the country.

List of kings

Rex Italiae

Ostrogothic Kingdom (493–553)

Kingdom of the Lombards (568–814)

  • Alboin (568–572)
  • Cleph (572–574)
  • Rule of the dukes (ten-year interregnum)
  • Authari (584–590)
  • Agilulf (591–c. 616)
  • Adaloald (c. 616–c. 626)
  • Arioald (c. 626–636)
  • Rothari (636–652)
  • Rodoald (652–653)
  • Aripert I (653–661)
  • Perctarit and Godepert (661–662)
  • Grimoald (662–671)
  • Perctarit (671–688), restored from exile
  • Alahis (688–689), rebel
  • Cunincpert (688–700)
  • Liutpert (700–701)
  • Raginpert (701)
  • Aripert II (701–712)
  • Ansprand (712)
  • Liutprand (712–744)
  • Hildeprand (744)
  • Ratchis (744–749)
  • Aistulf (749–756)
  • Desiderius (756–774)
  • Charlemagne (774–814)

Kingdom of Italy (781–963)

Carolingian Dynasty (781–888)

Instability (888–962)

After 887, Italy fell into instability, with many rulers claiming the kingship simultaneously:

vassal of the German King Arnulf of Carinthia, reduced to Friuli 889-894, deposed by Arnulf in 896.
  • Guy of Spoleto (889–894)
opponent of Berengar, ruled most of Italy but was deposed by Arnulf.
subking of his father Guy before 894, reduced to Spoleto 894–895.

In 896, Arnulf and Ratold lost control of Italy, which was divided between Berengar and Lambert:

seized Lambert's portion upon the latter's death in 898.
opposed Berengar 900-902 and 905.
  • Rudolph II of Burgundy (922–933)
defeated Berengar but fled Italy in 926.
  • Hugh of Arles (926–947)
elected by Berengar's partisans in 925, resigned to Provence after 945.
jointly with his son:

In 951 Otto I of Germany invaded Italy and was crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy. In 952, Berengar and Adalbert became his vassals but remained Kings until being deposed by Otto.

Holy Roman Emperors also crowned kings of Italy (962–1556)

Ottonian dynasty (962–1024)

Image Name Life Coronation Ceased to be King
Otto the Great.jpg
Otto I 23 November 912
7 May 973
962 7 May 973
Otto II 955
7 December 983
c. October 980 7 December 983
Meister der Reichenauer Schule 002.jpg
Otto III 980
23 January 1002
c. February 996 23 January 1002
Arduino d'ivrea (2).jpg
Arduin I of Ivrea 955
1002 1014
Ubf Richard-Wagner-Platz Mosaik Heinrich II.jpg
Henry II
6 May 973
13 July 1024
1004 13 July 1024

Salian dynasty (1027–1125)

Image Name Life Coronation Ceased to be King
Conrad II
4 June 1039
1026 4 June 1039
Heinrich III. (HRR) Miniatur.jpg
Henry III 29 October 1017
5 October 1056
1039 5 October 1056
Henry IV 11 November 1050
7 August 1106
1056 December 1105
Conrad II of Italy.jpg
Conrad II of Italy 1074
1093 1101
Henry V
8 November 1086
23 May 1125
1106 23 May 1125

Süpplingenburg dynasty (1125–1137)

Image Name Life Coronation Ceased to be King
Siegel Lothar III.jpg
Lothair III (or II) 9 June 1075
4 December 1137
1125 4 December 1137

Hauteville dynasty (1130–1154)

Roger II used the title King of Sicily and Italy until at least 1135; later he used only the title King of Sicily, Apulia and Calabria. Although his realm included the southern Italian mainland, he never exerted any control over the official Kingdom of Italy, and none of his successors claimed the title King of Italy.

Image Name Life Coronation Ceased to be King
Roger II. Sicilsky (cropped1).jpg
Roger II 22 December 1095
26 February 1154
25 December 1130 26 February 1154

House of Hohenstaufen (1128–1197)

Image Coat of Arms Name Life Coronation Ceased to be King
Konrad III Miniatur 13 Jahrhundert.jpg
Hohenstaufen family arms.svg
Conrad III 1093
15 February 1152
(Also crowned in 1128 in opposition to Lothair)
Wgt Stifterbüchlein 43r.jpg
Hohenstaufen family arms.svg
Frederick I 1122
10 June 1190
1154 1186
JindrichVIStauf trun.jpg
Hohenstaufen family arms.svg
Henry VI November 1165
28 September 1197
1186 28 September 1197

House of Welf (1208–1212)

Image Coat of Arms Name Life Coronation Ceased to be King
Otto IV 1836.jpg
Coat of Arms of Brunswick-Lüneburg.svg
Otto IV 1175 or 1176
19 May 1218
1209 1212

House of Hohenstaufen (1212–1254)

Image Coat of Arms Name Life Coronation Ceased to be King
Frederick II and eagle.jpg
Hohenstaufen family arms.svg
Frederick II
(Friedrich II)
26 December 1194 – 13 December 1250 5 December 1212 13 December 1250
Hohenstaufen family arms.svg
(Heinrich (VII))
1211 – 12 February 1242 23 April 1220 12 February 1242
Conrad IV of Germany.jpg
Hohenstaufen family arms.svg
Conrad IV
(Konrad IV)
25 April 1228 – 21 May 1254 May 1237 21 May 1254

House of Luxembourg (1311–1313)

Image Coat of Arms Name Life Coronation Ceased to be King
Arms of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.svg
Henry VII 1275
24 August 1313
6 January 1311 24 August 1313

House of Wittelsbach (1327–1347)

Image Coat of Arms Name Life Coronation Ceased to be King
Ludwig der Bayer.jpg
Wittelsbach Arms.svg
Louis IV 1 April 1282
11 October 1347
1327 11 October 1347

House of Luxembourg (1355–1437)

Image Coat of Arms Name Life Coronation Ceased to be King
Charles IV-John Ocko votive picture-fragment.jpg
Arms of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.svg
Charles IV 14 May 1316
29 November 1378
1355 29 November 1378
Zikmund Zhořelecka radnice.jpg
Arms of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.svg
Sigismund 14 February 1368
9 December 1437
1431 9 December 1437

House of Habsburg (1437–1556)

Image Coat of Arms Name Life Coronation Ceased to be King
Hans Burgkmair d. Ä. 005.jpg
Counts of Habsburg Arms.svg
Frederick III 21 September 1415
19 August 1493
16 March 1452 19 August 1493
Charles I of Spain.jpg
Counts of Habsburg Arms.svg
Charles V 24 February 1500
21 September 1558
24 February 1530 16 January 1556

Charles V was the last emperor to be crowned king of Italy, or to use the title. The Peace of Westphalia, in 1648, formally ended with the rule of the Holy Roman Emperors in Italy. However, the empire continued to claim territory in northern Italy until its dissolution in 1806.

Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy (1805–1814), House of Bonaparte

Image Coat of Arms Name Life Coronation Ceased to be King
Andrea Appiani 002.jpg
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Italy (1805-1814), round shield version.svg
Napoleon I 15 August 1769
5 May 1821
17 March 1805 11 April 1814

Full title

This title is present on an Italian law by Napoleon I:

[Name], by the Grace of God and the Constitutions, Emperor of the French and King of Italy.

Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946), House of Savoy

Image Coat of Arms Name Life Became King Ceased to be King
Dipinto di Re Vittorio Emanuele II.jpg
Great coat of arms of the king of italy (1890-1946).svg
Victor Emmanuel II 14 March 1820
9 January 1878
17 March 1861 9 January 1878
Ritratto di Umberto I.jpg
Great coat of arms of the king of italy (1890-1946).svg
Umberto I 14 March 1844
29 July 1900
9 January 1878 29 July 1900
Eduardo Gioja Viktor Emanuel III 1913.jpg
Great coat of arms of the king of italy (1890-1946).svg
Victor Emmanuel III 11 November 1869
28 December 1947
29 July 1900 9 May 1946
Hrh Prince Umberto of Italy, May 1944 TR1836.jpg
Great coat of arms of the king of italy (1890-1946).svg
Umberto II 15 September 1904
18 March 1983
9 May 1946 12 June 1946

Full title

Up until the dissolution of the monarchy in 1946, full title of the Kings of Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946) was:

[Name], by the Grace of God and the will of the Nation, King of Italy, King of Sardinia, Cyprus, Jerusalem, Armenia, Duke of Savoy, count of Maurienne, Marquis (of the Holy Roman Empire) in Italy; Prince of Piedmont, Carignano, Oneglia, Poirino, Trino; Prince and Perpetual Vicar of the Holy Roman Empire; Prince of Carmagnola, Montmellian with Arbin and Francin, Prince bailiff of the Duchy of Aosta, Prince of Chieri, Dronero, Crescentino, Riva di Chieri and Banna, Busca, Bene, Bra, Duke of Genoa, Monferrat, Aosta, Duke of Chablais, Genevois, Duke of Piacenza, Marquis of Saluzzo (Saluces), Ivrea, Susa, of Maro, Oristano, Cesana, Savona, Tarantasia, Borgomanero and Cureggio, Caselle, Rivoli, Pianezza, Govone, Salussola, Racconigi over Tegerone, Migliabruna and Motturone, Cavallermaggiore, Marene, Modane and Lanslebourg, Livorno Ferraris, Santhià, Agliè, Centallo and Demonte, Desana, Ghemme, Vigone, Count of Barge, Villafranca, Ginevra, Nizza, Tenda, Romont, Asti, Alessandria, of Goceano, Novara, Tortona, Bobbio, Soissons, Sant'Antioco, Pollenzo, Roccabruna, Tricerro, Bairo, Ozegna, delle Apertole, Baron of Vaud and of Faucigni, Lord of Vercelli, Pinerolo, of Lomellina, of Valle Sesia, of the Marquisate of Ceva, Overlord of Monaco, Roccabruna and eleven-twelfths of Menton, Noble Patrician of Venice, Patrician of Ferrara.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Rey de Italia para niños

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