Umberto I of Italy and his "double"
Vanitas - AboveTopSecret.com - May 7, 2008
I have asked this question within a different recent thread, but since its title is more of a general kind, I thought a new thread dealing specifically with this case might be warranted.
I hope I am not breaking any rules - I would just really like to get an answer to this question - and a title naming the king might improve the chances of some Italian, perhaps, who knows of this noticing the thread.
Some of you may have heard of the story about Umberto I, the king of Italy, and his alleged "double." If you haven't, here's a short account, copied below for convenience:
“In 1900 King Umberto of Italy came face to face with a man who looked just like him. The king and his aide-de-camp Gen. Emilio Ponzio-Vaglia arrived in the town of Monza, a few miles outside Milan. The next day the king was to present the prizes at an athletic meet. The night of their arrival he and his aide went to a small restaurant for dinner. As the owner was taking their order, the king noticed that he and the patron were virtually doubles, in both face and build. He remarked on this, and as the two men talked an extraordinary series of parallels emerged which caused both of them to marvel:
* Both were born on the same day, year, same town, and had the same name.
* They were both married on April 22, 1868.
* Both wives were named Margarita,
* Both had a son named Vittorio.
With this final revelation the patron returned to his duties, and the king, turning to his aide, said, ‘I intend to make that man a Cavaliere of the Crown of Italy tomorrow. Be sure he comes to the meet.'"
“The following day, true to his word, the king asked for his double only to be told that the man had died that day in a shooting accident. Shocked, the king asked his aide to find out when the funeral was to take place so that he might attend. At that very moment three shots rang out, fired by an assassin. The first of them missed the king, but the second two pierced his heart and killed him instantly.”
Frankly, I find this story more eerie than "fascinating," in the usual titillating sense of the word... Because if it's true, my first thought would be:
The two Umbertos were twin brothers. Twins being a major problem in royal lineages, for obvious reasons, one of the boys was given away immediately after birth, but was also called Umberto, either by chance (by the family who adopted him) - or even on purpose, to secure a credible "spare."
That would explain everything, even the subsequent "coincidences."
(Many studies of the lives of identical twins show that their spouses are often very similar in appearance, share the same name etc. Twins often also die on the same day - although in this case even the death could be explained in a more sinister and less coincidental light...)
But my question is: WAS it true at all?
Does anyone have a reputable source for this story?