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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 September, 2003, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Italian 'prince' to wed actress
Clotilde Courau
Filiberto rejects reports that his fiancee is an "anarcho-communist"
The grandson of Italy's last king is to marry a French actress this week, after overcoming his parents' opposition.

Emmanuele Filiberto, who was allowed back into the country earlier this year, will marry Clotilde Courau in a basilica created by Michelangelo.

The bride, who is six months pregnant, was initially viewed with disaste by Filiberto's father, Vittorio Emmanuel, because of her left-wing views.

"After two weeks of cold war, love and good sense prevailed," Filiberto said.

The 31-year-old banker said media reports that his fiancee was an "anarcho-communist" were speculation.

Guest list

However he acknowledged that she was "much closer to the culture of the Left than to mine, which is more moderate."

Vittorio Emmanuel and wife Marina Doria opposed Filiberto's choice
More than 1,000 guests have been invited to the wedding, which takes place on Thursday, including fashion designer Pierre Cardin and French rock star Johnny Hallyday.

Courau will sport a Valentino dress, a diamond tiara and gems belonging to the House of Savoy.

Prince Albert of Monaco, who introduced the couple three years ago, will be a witness.

The basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels, built on the ruins of the Diocletian baths, is where Filiberto's great grandfather King Victor Emmanuel III married Helen of Montenegro in 1896.

A constitutional ban which kept the male Savoy heirs out of Italy for more than half a century was lifted late last year at the same time as the family condemned Mussolini's race laws.

The last Savoy monarch approved the laws which marked the start of the persecution and deportation of Italian Jews during World War II.

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