The family of Italy's last king are locked in a bitter court feud over who has the right to lay claim to the country's defunct throne more than 60 years after the monarchy was abolished.
The battle pitches Prince Victor Emmanuel, the son of Umberto II, against his third cousin, Duke Amadeo of Aosta, both of whom are descended from the 19th century king of Italy, Umberto I.
The dispute has reached court after four years of public bickering which divided the country's small but ardent band of monarchists.
It began when the duke declared he, rather than his cousin, was the real head of the House of Savoy, the name of the Italian royals until the monarchy was abolished by referendum at the end of the Second World War.
The duke, 66, argued that his cousin was no longer eligible to call himself Prince of Savoy because he had failed to secure the legally-required permission of his father, king-in-exile Umberto II, to marry a Swiss biscuit manufacturer heiress and champion water skier, Marina Doria, in 1971.
The duke also argued that the prince forfeited his right to the dynastic title because in order to be allowed to return to Italy from exile in 2002, Victor Emmanuel had to formally recognise the Italian republic as the country's legitimate government.
The feud even erupted into violence when Victor Emmanuel was accused of punching the duke twice in the face following a dinner held by King Juan Carlos I of Spain in honour of the wedding of his son.
But now a court in Tuscany has finally ruled the 73-year-old prince is the true heir to the dynasty, which has its roots in the north-east of Italy and ruled the whole country after it was unified in 1861.
It ruled the Savoy royal title can now only be used by Prince Victor Emmanuel and his son, Prince Emmanuel Filiberto, who is best known to Italians as the recent winner of a reality television show, Dancing with the Stars.
It also ordered the Duke of Aosta to pay his cousin £43,000 in compensation as well as the costs of the trial.
The court pointed out that the "dynastic squabbles underlying this affair" had no legal relevance to the modern Italian state because the monarchy had been abolished more than 60 years ago.
It also highlighted the fact the prince was descended from the last king of Italy while the duke came from only a "junior branch" of the royal family.
The court ruled that the duke's use of the Savoy name had been "unmerited" and ordered him to bring his "harmful conduct" to an immediate end.
Prince Emmanuel, who has been embroiled in a series of scandals including an incident in which he fatally shot a German tourist who climbed aboard his yacht off Corsica in 1978 and, more recently, charges of recruiting prostitutes for clients at a Swiss casino, praised the court's decision.
"The judge understood the vile and harmful action that Duke Amadeo had construed against me, my son and the Royal House of Savoy, an action which has been rightly punished," he said.
But a furious Duke Amadeo vowed to fight on. "I respect the judgment but naturally I don't agree with it and I'm going to appeal," he said.
It was not just the claim to a long defunct royal line that was at stake. The Savoy name also confers the control of various charitable institutions and entitles the holder to call himself prince of Venice and Piedmont – although the positions are purely titular.