King Francesco II was succeeded as Head of the House of the Two Sicilies by his brother, Alfonso, Count of Caserta. Relations between the Royal Houses of Bourbon Two Sicilies and the Savoy dynasty of Italy remained poor. In 1924 the Italian Minister Boselli, Chancellor of the Order of St Maurice and St Lazarus of the reigning House of Savoy of Italy, launched an unprecedented attack against the Constantinian Order which Pope Pius IX had protected at the time of Italy’s unification. In the same year the delicate negotiations commenced concerning the compensation to be paid to the Papacy for the loss of the Papal States and the establishment of a sovereign state for the Holy See.
The Papal Secretary of State, Cardinal Gasparri, himself a Bailiff Knight Grand Cross of Justice of the Constantinian Order, had to negotiate with the King of Italy’s Minister, Benito Mussolini. Cardinal Gasparri, not wishing to jeopardize the delicate negotiations, yielded to the pressure of Mussolini and temporarily suspended the functions assigned to the Cardinal Protector of the Constantinian Order until the Order’s legitimacy had been recognised by the Government of the Kingdom of Italy.
Despite this act, the Apostolic See maintained excellent working and spiritual relations with the Constantinian Order. The Order was still being bestowed by the head of dynasty and Grand Master, Alfonso, Count of Caserta until his death in 1934 and later by his successor and son, Prince Ferdinando Pio. The Order also remained internationally recognised as a dynastic order of knighthood pertaining to the Royal House of Bourbon Two Sicilies. Many prominent statesmen, cardinals, nobles and citizens were invested during the Savoy rule in Italy.
It was only after the abolition of the Italian monarchy in 1946 that the two former dynasties resolved their differences. Shortly before his death in 1960, Prince Ferdinando Pio, Duke of Castro and Head of the Royal House, was invested by Italy’s last monarch, King Umberto II, into the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation. Soon after in 1959, King Umberto was invested with the Collar of the Constantinian Order by its Grand Master, Prince Ferdinando Pio. An ancient family feud was finally put to rest.
Relations between the two dynasties have continued to grow and strengthen with Prince Ferdinando’s successor, Prince Ranieri, Duke of Castro, who became Head of the dynasty and Grand Master in 1960. When Prince Ranieri died in 1973 he was succeeded by the current Head of the Royal House and Grand Master of the dynastic orders, HRH Prince Ferdinando Maria, Duke of Castro.
King Umberto II wishing to further build on the warm relations, which had now existed for many years between the two dynasties, honoured the current Duke of Castro with the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation in 1977. HRH The Duke of Castro returned the honour by awarding and investing King Umberto with the pre-eminent Order of St Januarius of the Royal House of Bourbon Two Sicilies.
On the death of King Umberto in 1983, the Duke of Castro continued the family relationship by honouring the new Head of the Royal House of Savoy, HRH Prince Victor Emanuele, Duke of Savoy with the Bailiff Grand Cross of Justice with the Collar decoration of the Constantinian Order. Two years later in 1985 HRH Princess Marina, Duchess of Savoy, was invested as a Dame Grand Cross of Justice of the Constantinian Order.
As a further mark of the cordial relations between the two Royal Houses, HRH Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, Prince of Piemonte and Venice, was invested as Bailiff Grand Cross of Justice in 2003. HRH Prince Carlo of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro, is a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Maurice and St Lazarus.