EXPIRED: 11/25/09 – Giorgio Carbone, 73, who had a plan.
Step 1. Draw attention to a bit of missing information in a couple of Vatican documents.
Step 2. Make a few hundred people call him ‘Your Highness’.
Step 3. Get some free cheese.
Simple, yet uncannily effective.
In 1963, Carbone produced documents from the Vatican archives to prove that Seborga, a village in Northwest Italy, was never the property of the House of Savoy and therefore not part of the Kingdom of Italy after 1861. He insisted that Seborga had been a sovereign state since 954.
“He was right as a matter of law,” said Guy P. Dancosse, a Canadian lawyer hired by Seborga to pursue its legal claims at the International Court of Justice. But, added Mr. Dancosse, “the international bodies are not inclined to recognize what we call the ministates.”
Forget the international bodies; Step 1 was done, on to Step 2.
Amid a population that numbered only 364, the former flower-grower donned the outfit of a prince: white Nehru jacket adorned with medals and a blue sash. He was quirky and the people loved him, so, in a landslide victory, Carbone took the reins of Seborga and earned himself the moniker “His Serene Highness Giorgio I.” Though some of the locals preferred calling him “Sua Tremendita”, or “His Tremendousness”, for his size and enthusiasm, Giorgio could technically check Step 2 right off that list and move on to Step 3 (the Cheese)
Forget that most matters of official administration in Seborga were handled by the village’s mayor, Franco Fogliarini.
Forget that Seborga was never truly taken seriously by the Italian government and the villagers had to, in fact, pay taxes to Italy.
Forget that the Seborgan Army Carbone boasted of was actually a single individual outfitted in a ceremonial uniform who was said to function as His Highness’s bodyguard.
Carbone believed in his royalty and so did his people. So much so, in fact, that though Carbone couldn’t draw a salary during his four decades as ruler, he could help himself to as much cheese and ham as he pleased at the local shop without paying.
Sadly, since the princeship is an elected position and Carbone was childless, there is no royal heir to his throne. There was almost a chance for it a few years back when a woman calling herself Princess Yasmine von Hohenstaufen Anjoy Plantagenet claimed that she was the true heir to Seborga’s royal seat. Upon hearing this, Carbone dismissed her claim saying, “I have never seen her…. We call her the internet princess.”
And you, Your Serene Highness, our internet prince, may you Rest In Peace.