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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
Italian 'prince' weds actress
Clotilde Courau and Emanuele Filiberto
The couple say they do not want to be treated as royalty
The grandson of Italy's last king has married a French actress in a lavish ceremony at historic Roman church.

Around 1,200 people are thought to have attended the wedding of Emmanuele Filiberto and Clotilde Courau.

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

The event has been given extensive media coverage and was shown live on Sky TV. It has been dubbed the "wedding of the year".

Tumbling bouquet

Courau sported a Valentino dress, a veil held in place by a diamond tiara and gems belonging to the House of Savoy.

She held a tumbling bouquet of pink roses as she walked down the aisle with her father.

Our love is strong, it will carry us far
Clotilde Courau
She said her vows in Italian with a French accent before kissing Emmanuel Filiberto on both cheeks.

Both were moved to tears on several occasions.

Prince Albert of Monaco, who introduced the couple three years ago, was the best man.

Celebrities such as French rock singer Jonny Hallyday and fashion designer Pierre Cardin were in attendance, as were a number of Italian aristocrats.

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.

'Humanitarian causes'

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

Vittorio Emmanuel and his wife Marina Doria
Vittorio Emmanuel and his wife opposed Filiberto's choice
However he acknowledged that she was "much closer to the culture of the Left than to mine, which is more moderate."

Courau has said she will continue to work as an actress.

"I will work under my name and I will be Clotilde of Savoy to advance humanitarian causes," she told the newspaper Corriere della Sera on Thursday.

Both have stressed that they married for love.

"Our love is strong, it will carry us far," Courau told the newspaper.

They also say they do not want to be treated as royalty.

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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