Two Sicilies

Two Sicilies

Two Sicilies, kingdom of the. The name Two Sicilies was used in the Middle Ages to mean the kingdoms of Sicily and of Naples (see Sicily and Naples, kingdom of). Alfonso V of Aragón, who in 1442 reunited the two kingdoms under his rule, styled himself king of the Two Sicilies. Under his successors the kingdoms were again separate, but the title was revived during Spanish domination (1504-1713) of both kingdoms and after the accession (1759) of a cadet branch of the Spanish line of Bourbon to Naples and Sicily. Ferdinand IV of Naples (Ferdinand III of Sicily) officially merged the two kingdoms in 1816 and called himself Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. Both the Sicilians, who thus lost their autonomy, and the pope, who saw his theoretical suzerainty over the two kingdoms ignored, protested the change. A popular uprising (1820) instigated by the Carbonari forced Ferdinand to concede a constitution, but Austrian intervention (1821) after the Congress of Laibach restored his absolute power. The reactionary regimes of his successors Francis I, Ferdinand II, and Francis II finally ended when Sicily and Naples fell to the forces of Garibaldi in 1860. In 1861, Gaeta, Francis's last fortress, surrendered to Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia, and the Two Sicilies became part of the kingdom of Italy.

See studies by H. M. M. Acton (1956 and 1962); B. Croce, History of the Kingdom of Naples (tr. 1970).

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The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (Regno delle Due Sicilie), commonly known as just the Two Sicilies, was the name of a kingdom in Europe. The most common definition of the kingdom's extent is that it was a uniting of two much older kingdoms in the Mediterranean that had shared some common history: the Kingdom of Naples, on the southern part of the Italian Peninsula, and the Kingdom of Sicily, located on the island of Sicily. The capital city of the combined kingdom was Naples.

Technically, the kingdom was established in the Edict of Bayonne in 1808, under Bonapartist king Joachim Murat; he was officially titled "King of the two Sicilies", although de facto he controlled only the kingdom commonly known as Naples. It was put into actual practice by king Ferdinand I (the founder of the cadet "Two Sicilies" branch of the Spanish monarchy) in 1816, uniting the two much older kingdoms he owned, established with the aid of a concordat with the Papal States, which previously had feudal rights on the land.

The French Revolutionary invasion of the Kingdom of Naples had seen that area under two Bonapartist Kings of Naples for around a decade. After the mainland kingdom was won back for the Bourbons during the Neapolitan War, thanks to their allies Austria, Tuscany and the United Kingdom, Ferdinand agreed to unite his two historic kingdoms at the Congress of Vienna as a matter of necessity and an act of solidarity.

Although the origins of the two kingdoms are ancient, in its united Two Sicilies form it existed from 1816 until 1860. There had been some rebellions on the island of Sicily against the Bourbon king Ferdinand II which would lead to the Expedition of the Thousand a decade later. The invasion by the Savoy kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, led by Garibaldi, led to the Italian unification in 1860: deposing Francis II and dissolving the Kingdom of Two Sicilies in highly controversial circumstances.



The territories later known as Two Sicilies were first united as a single kingdom by the Norman king Roger II, who formed the Kingdom of Sicily by combining the County of Sicily with the southern part of the Italian Peninsula (then known as the Duchy of Apulia and Calabria) as well as the Maltese Islands. The capital of this kingdom was Palermo, on the actual island of Sicily. The state existed in that form from 1130 until 1285.

In the reign of the Angevin king Charles I, the kingdom was split by the War of the Sicilian Vespers. Charles, who was ultimately of French origin, lost Sicily proper to the Aragonese, who were ultimately Catalan, with support from the natives. Charles remained king over the peninsular part of the realm, thereafter informally known as the Kingdom of Naples; officially he never gave up the "Kingdom of Sicily" name, and thus there were two kingdoms calling themselves "Sicily".

Aragonese and Spanish direct rule

It wasn't until the Peace of Caltabellotta in 1302, sponsored by Pope Boniface VIII, that the two kings of "Sicily" recognized each other's legitimacy; the island kingdom then became the "Kingdom of Trinacria" in an official context, though the populance still called it Sicily.

Eventually by 1442 the Angevin line of Kings of Naples was coming to an end, Alfonso V of Aragon, whose realm included insular Sicily, conquered Naples and became king of both. His regnal titles in Latin included the phrase Utriusque Siciliae, meaning "and of each of the two Sicilies". After the death of Alfonso, both remained under direct rule from the Crown of Aragon, but Naples had a different Aragonese king to the island of Sicily from 1458 until 1501.

For a brief period Naples was controlled by a different power than Sicily, in the form of French king Louis XII of France who took the mainland kingdom and held it for around three years. After the Battle of Garigliano, led by the last Aragonese king Ferdinand II of Aragon, the two areas were once again under control of the same power and the exact same king.

From 1516 when Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor became the first King of Spain, both Naples and Sicily were under direct Spanish rule. It was during this era that Charles V granted the islands of Malta and Gozo, which had been part of the Kingdom of Sicily for four centuries, to the Knights Hospitaller (thereafter known as the Order of Malta). The period of direct Spanish rule under the same line of kings lasted until 1713, when Spain and both Sicilies passed to Philip, duke of Anjou, who founded the Spanish branch of the House of Bourbon. Briefly interrupted by an eight year spell of Savoy rule of Sicily, the two kingdoms fell under the same king after the Treaty of The Hague, as Austrian king Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor was named ruler.

Uniting of the Crowns

The kingdoms were conquered by a young Bourbon prince called Charles VII of Naples during the War of the Polish Succession. The two kingdoms were recongised as both independent and under Charles' rule as a cadet branch of the Spanish Bourbons by the Treaty of Vienna. After Charles inherited the Spanish Crown in 1759, his son Ferdinand became king of the two kingdoms. He was highly popular with the lazzaroni class. Ferdinand's reign was highly eventful. For a brief period the Parthenopaean Republic was instated in Naples by French Revolution supporters: a counter-revolutionary army of lazzaroni retook Naples for the Bourbons.

However only eight years later, Napoleon conquered the peninsula part of the kingdom during the War of the Third Coalition and instated his brother Joseph Bonaparte as king. Ferdinand fled to his other kingdom, on the island of Sicily itself; here the alliance he had previously made with George III of the United Kingdom and Tory Prime Minister the Earl of Liverpool saved him. The British protected Ferdinand and the island of Sicily from Napoleonic conquest with a powerful Royal Navy fleet presence.

Meanwhile, back on the mainland Joachim Murat, had become the second Bonapartist king. In the Edict of Bayonne he was technically named as the first "King of the Two Sicilies", though de facto he never actually held the island of Sicily where Ferdinand was, and is usually referred to as just a King of Naples. Murat had actually switched sides for a while, abandoning La Grande Armée after the disastrous Battle of Leipzig in an attempt to save his Neapolitan throne. However, as the Congress of Vienna progressed, tensions arose as there was strong pressure to restore Ferdinand to the Neapolitan kingdom as well as keeping his Sicilian one. Murat returned to Napoleon and together they declared war on Austria, leading to the Neapolitan War in March 1815. Ferdinand and his allies Austria, Britain and Tuscany were victorious, restoring him to his Neapolitan throne. To avoid further French attempts, it was agreed at the Congress of Vienna that Ferdinand would unite his two kingdoms for solidarity; becoming the first actual King of the Two Sicilies to control both parts of his united kingdom.

Bourbon nation

Invasion by Sardinia

Between 1816 and 1848 the island of Sicily experienced no less than three popular revolts against Bourbon rule, including the revolution of independence of 1848, when the island was fully independent of Bourbon control for 16 months.

Apart from having occurred at an interesting point in European history (see Revolutions of 1848), there is a clear link between this revolution and the more well known historical event that was to occur 11 years hence (the Risorgimento).



On the Italian Peninsula there were twelve provinces of the Two Sicilies. The capital city of Naples was within the Terra di Lavoro. The island of Sicily itself had a special administrative status, with its base at Palermo (the "second city" of the kingdom), viewed as different and at a more prestigious standing than just a standard, much smaller Peninsula provinces.


Kings of the Two Sicilies

In 1860–1861 the kingdom was conquered by the Kingdom of Sardinia, and the title dropped. It is still claimed by the head of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.

Titles of King of the Two Sicilies

Francis I, King of the Two Sicilies, of Jerusalem, etc., Duke of Parma, Piacenza, Castro, etc., Hereditary Grand Prince of Tuscany, etc.

House of Bourbon Two Sicilies in exile

Some Sovereigns continued to maintain diplomatic relations with the exiled Court, including the Emperor of Austria, the Kings of Bavaria, Württemberg and Hanover, the Queen of Spain, the Emperor of Russia, and the Papacy.

Heads of the Royal House of the Two Sicilies, 1861–present

Upon Ferdinando Pio's death in 1960, there was a dispute about who inherited the headship of the house. Ferdinando's next brother Carlo had, in anticipation of his marriage to the eldest sister and heiress presumptive of King Alfonso XIII of Spain, signed the so-called Act of Cannes on 14 December 1900:

...Here present is His Royal Highness Prince Don Carlo our dearest loved Son and he has declared that he shall be entering into marriage with Her Royal Highness the Infanta Doña Maria Mercedes, Princess of the Asturias, and assuming by that marriage the nationality and quality of Spanish Prince, intends to renounce, and by this present act solemnly renounces for Himself and for his Heirs and Successors to any right and rights to the eventual succession to the Crown of the Two Sicilies and to all the Properties of the Royal House found in Italy and elsewhere and this according to our laws, constitutions and customs of the Family and in execution of the Pragmatic Decree of King Charles III, Our August ancestor, of the 6th October 1759, to whose prescriptions he declares freely and explicitly to subscribe to and obey.
The laws of the deposed Sicilian dynasty and Spain's Pragmatic Decree, however, required a renunciation only in very limited circumstances: the actual union of the Crown of the Two Sicilies in the person of the King of Spain or his heir apparent, which had not happened in 1900 nor did it occur subsequently. Furthermore, this act was signed subsequent to the agreement by marriage contract between the Count of Caserta (the father of prince Carlo, then head of the Royal House in exile), and the Queen Regent of Spain, which specifically excluded the need for a dynastic renunciation to the non-existent throne. Prince Carlo was created an Infante of Spain, a title held by several other princes of the Two Sicilies in the past, but with his wife's death and the birth of a Prince of Asturias (and three other sons) to the King and Queen of Spain, the possibility of him becoming king consort and his son becoming both King of Spain and pretender to the Two Sicilies, receded. All the descendants of King Francis I of the Two Sicilies by his wife, Infanta Isabel, already enjoyed a right to the Spanish throne by virtue of the royal constitutions of 1837, 1845 and 1876.

Calabria line

Prince Carlo's son, Infante Don Alfonso, became the senior male of the house on the death of his uncle, Ferdinando Pio, Duke of Calabria, in 1960 and was proclaimed Head of the Royal House of the Two Sicilies, with the recognition of the Heads of the royal houses of Spain, Parma and Portugal, and the senior line (Bourbon) pretender to the throne of France. Prince Carlo and his descendants continued to be included as Princes of the Two Sicilies in the Almanach de Gotha from 1901-1944, and in the Libro d'Oro of the Italian Nobility from the first edition in 1907 until 1964, at which time the editor came out in support of the cadet line claimant. Infante Don Alfonso took the title of Duke of Calabria, considering that the title of Duke of Castro (a Farnese inheritance) had been lost with the sale of the last portions of the duchy to the Italian government in 1941 (a sale from which Prince Carlo received his portion of the proceeds, along with his brothers and sisters, although if the alleged renunciation of 1900 had been valid he would not have been entitled to do so). Prince Carlo married as his second wife, in 1907, Princess Louise of Orléans, and by her had a son (Carlos, killed in the Spanish Civil War) and three daughters (of whom Princess Maria Mercedes married Juan, Count of Barcelona and was the mother of King Juan Carlos I of Spain, and Princess Esperanza married Prince Pedro Gastão of Orléans-Braganza). The descent in the senior line is as follows:

The latter's immediate heir is Pedro, Duke of Noto, married to D. Sofia de Landaluce y Melgarejo (a descendant through her mother of the Dukes of San Fernando de Quiroga).

Most of the rest of the Bourbon-Two Sicilies family rejected Alfonso's claims, however, and recognized Ranieri, the next surviving brother of Ferdinando Pio, as head of the house. Ranieri took the style of "Duke of Castro" as his title of pretence. The representatives of the junior branch are as follows:

They also claim the office of the Grand Master of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George.

Current lines of succession

To Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro:

  1. Prince Antoine of the Two Sicilies (born 1929), married to Duchess Elizabeth of Wurttemberg
  2. Prince François of the Two Sicilies (born 1960), married to Countess Alexandra of Schönborn-Wiesentheid
  3. Prince Antoine of the Two Sicilies (born 2003)
  4. Prince Gennaro of the Two Sicilies (born 1966)
  5. Prince Casimir of the Two Sicilies (born 1938)
  6. Prince Louis of the Two Sicilies (born 1970) married to Christine Apovian
  7. Prince Alexander of the Two Sicilies (born 1974), a Catholic Priest

To Infante Carlos, Duke of Calabria

  1. Prince Pedro, Duke of Noto married to D. Sofia de Landaluce y Melgarejo
  2. Prince Carlo of the Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro (born 1963), married to Camilla Crociani
  3. Prince Antoine of the Two Sicilies (born 1929), married to Duchess Elizabeth of Wurttemberg
  4. Prince François of the Two Sicilies (born 1960), married to Countess Alexandra of Schönborn-Wiesentheid
  5. Prince Antoine of the Two Sicilies (born 2003)
  6. Prince Gennaro of the Two Sicilies (born 1966)
  7. Prince Casimir of the Two Sicilies (born 1938)
  8. Prince Louis of the Two Sicilies (born 1970) married to Christine Apovian
  9. Prince Alexander of the Two Sicilies (born 1974), a Catholic Priest

Flags of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies

Orders of knighthood

See also


External links

Some cultural websites about the history of Naples and Sicily:



  • Associazione culturale neoborbonica - Southern Italian "neo-Bourbonist" site, making a case for a positive view of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Mostly in Italian, some pages in English. /
  • Edoardo Spagnuolo website - A websites with many historical documents about the rebellions against invasion in 1860, with particular interest in the region of Irpinia.

The headship of the house is in dispute between two branches of the family::

Royal house

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