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Friday, 15 November, 2002, 17:08 GMT
Italian royal in TV olive ad
Emanuele Filiberto and his father hope to be granted an audience by the Pope.
The Savoy family has long lobbied for the right to return
Next month, the banished Italian royal family will be returning to the land of their forebears - but one of them has already arrived, on the television screen.

The 30-year-old Emanuele Filiberto is starring in an Italian TV advertisement for a brand of olives that claims to make you feel "like a king".

The homecoming of the Savoys has been postponed after Vittorio Emanuele injured himself in a driving accident.
The heirs of the royal family said they will not enter politics
"They left with a sour taste in their mouth and are coming back with an aperitif and an olive between their teeth," said a news report broadcast by Canale 5, one of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's TV channels.

In the advertisement, Emanuele Filiberto walks out of a majestic palace on the French Riviera carrying a tray with a variety of pickled antipasti to the tune of Torna a Surriento (Come back to Sorrento) - a traditional Neapolitan song.

While he sits back at a table by the shore, slowly bringing a green olive to his mouth, a male voice advises to enjoy the product "every time you want to feel like a king".

The well known sideburns had to go
Small monarchist groups were disappointed when the family swore allegiance to the republic

The charming 30-year-old is expected to visit Italy around Christmas together with his 65-year-old father, Vittorio Emanuele, after the Italian parliament lifted a post-war ban on the royal family earlier this year.

Emanuele Filiberto, who had a haircut and shaved off his trademark sideburns before filming the commercial, said he will donate part of the profits to a charity, Canale 5 reported.

The grandson of Italy's last king, Umberto II, he has never been to Italy.

The ban on the Savoys was written into the 1948 Constitution as a transitory rule.
State television Rai has offered Emanuele Filiberto a job as a TV host

His grandfather was on the throne for only 27 days, and stepped down when a referendum abolished the monarchy on 2 June 1946.

He went into voluntary exile with his wife and children, and moved first to Portugal and later to Switzerland.

Emanuele Filiberto and Vittorio Emanuele are now allowed to return to Italy, after a long political battle following their pledge not to lay claim to the throne.

They both pledged allegiance to the Italian Republic before the ban was lifted.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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Italian royal sells aperitifs
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11 Jul 02 | Europe
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