The best outcoming here would be an accident befelling on Ferdinando e Don Leopoldo taking over as Regent.
An "accident" (for some value of accident) is always possible ;) .
Don Leopoldo is keeping his counsel, but he has not forgotten nor forgiven the slights he suffered in the past from his elder brother
 
When @Tarabas and I started to write this TL, the primary goal was certainly to explore new roads in the history of Italian unification, but we also wanted to write a fiction which would be enjoyable for the readers.
This means that to ignore the wishes of said readers would become a self defeating exercise: it doesn't mean that we are going to accept each and any suggestion, in particular where these suggestions would affect or put in jeopardy the ultimate goal of this intellectual exercise, which has always been to demonstrate that the last couple of centuries of Italian history were not cast in stone, and there were critical events (like the insurrections of 1848, which might have turned out quite differently, with minor changes to the historical events. Even better, to demonstrate that many of the participants to that fateful event might have been make a big difference, if only they had been a little more lucky or if the hand of cards they were dealt had been just a little better (and by the same token, a number of the so-called "fathers-of-the-nation" got a much better press than they deserved ;)).

Anyway, we are not tone-deaf to suggestions, and we are usually quite happy if it is possible to work them in the thread of the TL: an example was the compromise to have both Venice and Padua as joint capitals of the Republic of St. Mark.
Glad to hear this! I just did not want you guys to feel any sort of pressure or obligations towards appeasing all suggestions you may find here. If they work with the overall story and frame you already have in mind that's great, otherwise no need to force them in.
I think I can suggest another workable compromise for the flag of the RSM: the tricolore with the winged lion stands, but also the traditional Venetian flag with the winged lion will survive. It will become the personal flag of the doge of the republic, as the embodiment of the linkage of the new Republic with the ancient and glorious one.
That would work great, the tricolore on the international/confederational stage and the old flag being still there for (I suppose) officials events closer to home, or something like that, where it may still be quite popular. The two flags representing the two faces of the republic, between past traditions and a new future inside the confederation.
 
There has been a hiatus over Christmas, but the TL will be back soon, with new interludes, covering events in Italy, of course, but also analyzing contemporaneous developments in the Austrian empire, and giving some hints about what's happening in the Germanies.
In the meantime, I'll give you a short ditty, "Il Brigidino", composed by Francesco dall'Ongaro, a poet and writer born near Treviso in 1808, as well as a dedicated patriot who was the editor of the Italian newspaper in Trieste, La Favilla, and after the insurrections of 1848 fought in defense of Venice and later on in defense of the Roman Republic. After the fall of the republic, he went in exile abroad. He was a convinced republican and a follower of Mazzini, but during his exile he changed, like many other patriots, accepting that the kingdom of Sardinia was the only real hope for Italian unification: he came back to Turin, and supported the national cause without prejudice. He was a prolific writer of poetry and prose, but today he is almost forgotten, except for some patriotic stornelli (folk songs and ditties) written between 1847 and 1861. The most famous one is "Il Brigidino", which is a word from Tuscan dialect, referring to either a round cookie or to a cockade.

Poesia di Francesco Dall'Ongaro
Il Brigidino


E lo mio damo se n'è ito a Siena
e m'ha porto il brigidin da'due colori
Il bianco gli è la fe' che c'incatena
il rosso l'allegria dei nostri cori
ci mettero' una foglia di verbena
ch'io stessa alimentai di freschi umori

E gli dirò che il rosso il verde il bianco
gli stanno bene, con la spada al fianco
E gli dirò che il bianco il verde il rosso
vuol dir che Italia il giogo suo l'ha scosso
E gli dirò che il bianco il rosso il verde
è un terno che si gioca e non si perde

A quick translation would go as follows:

My Love went to Siena, and brough back to me a two-color cockade:
white for the faith which keeps us together, red for the gladness in our hearts.
I'll add a luscious vervain leaf, which I have watered well myself.

I'll tell him white, red and green look fine on him when he wears his sword.
I'll tell him white, red and green mean that Italy broke her chains,
I'll tell him white, red and green is a trifecta which will never loose.

It is unclear when dall'Ongaro wrote this ditty, but it is reasonable to assume it happened in 1848; the ditty was popular from the beginning, but became truly well known after Giuseppe Verdi wrote a music score for it in 1861 (but maybe ITTL the music will be written in 1848, given the very changed circumstances).

Happy New Year, guys!
 
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There has been a hiatus over Christmas, but the TL will be back soon, with new interludes, covering events in Italy, of course, but also analyzing contemporaneous developments in the Austrian empire, and giving some hints about what's happening in the Germanies.
In the meantime, I'll give you a short ditty, "Il Brigidino", composed by Francesco dall'Ongaro, a poet and writer born near Treviso in 1808, as well as a dedicated patriot who was the editor of the Italian newspaper in Trieste, La Favilla, and after the insurrections of 1848 fought in defense of Venice and later on in defense of the Roman Republic. After the fall of the republic, he went in exile abroad. He was a convinced republican and a follower of Mazzini, but during his exile he changed, like many other patriots, accepting that the kingdom of Sardinia was the only real hope for Italian unification: he came back to Turin, and supported the national cause without prejudice. He was a prolific writer of poetry and prose, but today he is almost forgotten, except for some patriotic stornelli (folk songs and ditties) written between 1847 and 1861. The most famous one is "Il Brigidino", which is a word from Tuscan dialect, referring to either a round cookie or to a cockade.

Poesia di Francesco Dall'Ongaro
Il Brigidino


E lo mio damo se n'è ito a Siena
e m'ha porto il brigidin da'due colori
Il bianco gli è la fe' che c'incatena
il rosso l'allegria dei nostri cori
ci mettero' una foglia di verbena
ch'io stessa alimentai di freschi umori

E gli dirò che il rosso il verde il bianco
gli stanno bene, con la spada al fianco
E gli dirò che il bianco il verde il rosso
vuol dir che Italia il giogo suo l'ha scosso
E gli dirò che il bianco il rosso il verde
è un terno che si gioca e non si perde

A quick translation would go as follows:

My Love went to Siena, and brough back to me a two-color cockade:
white for the faith which keeps us together, red for the gladness in our hearts.
I'll add a luscious vervain leaf, which I have watered well myself.

I'll tell him white, red and green look fine on him when he wears his sword.
I'll tell him white, red and green mean that Italy broke her chains,
I'll tell him white, red and green is a trifecta which will never loose.

It is unclear when dall'Ongaro wrote this ditty, but it is reasonable to assume it happened in 1848; the ditty was popular from the beginning, but became truly well known after Giuseppe Verdi wrote a music score for it in 1861 (but maybe ITTL the music will be written in 1848, given the very changed circumstances).

Happy New Year, guys!
Thank you and a Happy new year to you two authors, too!
 
The delegation from Rome
(images from Wiki)

The photos of Terenzio Mamiani and Camillo Aldobrandini are from a later period, while the other two photos are from 1847 or 1848
 

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Narrative Interlude #56: The End of the Beginning, Part 5: A Common House for All Italians
The End of the Beginning
Part 5: A Common House for All Italians

Verona, Guardia Nuova - 12 May 1848, Mid Morning

Marquis d'Azeglio had left, to sound up the reaction of the delegation from the Romagne, in preparation of a more formal meeting in the afternoon, while Prince Ferdinando and Cavour had moved to a larger conference room, where they would meet with the delegation from Rome. They were joined by Marquis Capponi of Tuscany, Count Sebastiano Tecchio (1) of the Republic of St. Mark, Professor Mariano Stabile (2) of Sicily, signor Luigi Chiesi (3) of Cispadania and Count Pompeo Litta (4) of Lombardy: it was a little cumbersome, but Ferdinando had decided it was only proper that representatives of the member states of the Italian Confederation should be present at a time when two more Italian states had asked to join.
The delegation from Rome arrived soon after: Count Terenzio Mamiani, Prince Camillo Aldobrandini, Signor Pietro Sterbini, Count Pellegrino Rossi and Abate Vincenzo Gioberti.
Cavour suppressed a smile, thinking that it was an unusual but at the same time well balanced, mix of liberal, moderate and democrat, and as such quite representative of the delicate situation in Rome. The presence of two wild cards, Rossi and Gioberti, just added spices to the soup.

Prince Ferdinando spoke first: "Signori delegati, welcome in Verona. This is a preliminary, somehow informal, meeting: the Italian Confederation is still very young, and a formal protocol has not yet been established. However, all the member states of the Confederation are represented at this table, and I am sure they also welcome you as fellow Italians. I have been informed that it is your intention to apply for membership in the Confederation, but I would ask you to formally confirm this, and also to clarify how and by whom you have been appointed as delegates."

Count Mamiani had been chosen as the spokesman of the delegation from Rome: "Your Highness, I wish to thank you and the honorable representative of the member states of the Italian Confederation for your warm welcome in this fair city which has been recently liberated by Italian arms, and chosen as the capital of the Confederation. The decision to apply for membership in the Confederation has been taken by unanimous vote of the Provisional Parliament in Rome, and confirmed by Gen. Ferrari who has been appointed as pro-tempore Dictator of Rome upon his arrival in the city at the head of the Volunteer Regiments who restored law and order after the recent disturbances. The Provisional Parliament has also voted its own immediate dissolution, and Gen. Ferrari has also called for new elections to choose representatives for a new, freely elected Parliament, which will also be empaneled as a Constitutional Convention. The former government has resigned, and a Giunta di Governo has been provisionally installed. The future form of the Roman state will be decided by the new parliament, and confirmed by a plebiscite, but the decision to apply for membership in the Confederation has been taken, and it is irrevocable. We are Italians, and will stand in the same common house of Italians: how could we choose to do otherwise?"

When Mamiani finished, Cavour spoke: "Count Mamiani, I feel the need to ask for some additional confirmation. The delegates who met in Isola della Scala voted for the establishment of an Italian Confederation, based on just a few principals: the task to decide in detail which powers would be transferred to the Confederation, as well as the adoption of a formal constitution, will be undertaken by freely elected delegates to a formal Constitutional Convention, and then subject to a confirmatory plebiscite. Are you aware of these principals, and accept them without reservation?"

"We are fully aware of the principals, which were sent to His Holiness the Pope together with the offer of the Presidency of the Confederation. The Pope could not accept said principals, nor could he accept the Presidency. The Provisional Parliament, as the duly constituted representative of he citizens of Rome, accepted the principals without any reservation whatsoever." There was no hint of hesitation in Mamiani's words.

Vincenzo Gioberti stirred a little on his seat, and his eyes were burning, but he refrained from any open condemnation of Papal refusal. He had made his position vis-a-vis Pope and Curia very clear, less than one month ago in Campo dei Fiori, and then in front of the palace of Roman Inquisition: nothing needed to be added .

"We are also aware that the former Legations in Bologna, Ferrara and Ravenna, as well as the Legation of Pesaro-Urbino, have decided to form their own state, rescinding the former ties with Rome. Is there any objection to this decision from Rome? I do apologize if I sound blunt, but one of the principals of the Confederation is no interference in the internal affairs of another state, be they or not member in the Confederation." Cavour wanted an answer on record.

"There is no objection to the separation: we understand the reasons behind this decision, and in any case we could not choose freedom at home, and at the same time deny the same freedom to others. We are also aware that the former Legations will also apply for membership in the Confederation, and we are certainly not objecting to this application. As I said before, the Confederation will be the common house of all Italians."

Prince Ferdinando spoke again: "I believe that there are no other points which require a formal confirmation. Are there any other comment of question, Signori Delegati?"

No one chose to speak, and the Prince continued: "In such a case, let me inform you that the official ceremony during which your delegation and the delegation from Romagne will formally join the Confederation is scheduled for day after tomorrow. I am also pleased to let you know that a dinner to be followed by a ball is planned for tonight: the arrival of two delegations in Verona must be celebrated, and even in a time of war and momentous change we can afford to indulge in social niceties. The dinner will be held in this palace, while the ball will be at Guardia Vecchia palace, just nearby. I thank you for your time, signori."

The meeting was over, and the participants moved slowly out. Abate Gioberti approached prince Ferdinando, with an apologetic look on his face: "Your Highness, I completely failed in the mission you tasked me with, and for this I must abjectly apologize. I was a fool, and it was proven to my face without any doubt. How could I be so completely mistaken?

"No apology is needed, Abate. You had a dream, and your dream provided a lever to break the stasis which had been enforced on Italy. Unfortunately, not every dream comes true, but it does not mean you were blind: others chose to refuse the offer you brought to Rome. What are you going to do now?"

"I will go back to Rome, Your Highness. There are people who still need any little help I might provide, and a new and hopefully more Christian and fair society to build."

"Go freely with our thanks, Abate, and follow the dictates of your heart. The Confederation that has been born may not be exactly the one you dreamed during your exile, but it is still a worthy one in which you may rejoice."

At the same time, Cavour had managed to draw Mamiani and Rossi to a side: "I am very pleased to meet you again, Count Rossi. I still fondly remember our meetings in Paris, ten years ago or so. As for you, Terenzio, I believe congratulations should be in order: I was informed you are happily married, and a proud father now. There are a few things I would like to discuss with the two of you, and a few others: maybe we might have lunch together tomorrow. I am afraid that I will be quite busy in the afternoon, and in the evening there are social obligations we have to meet. I have however arranged to have your son on leave here in Verona, count Rossi: I am sure you will have many things to talk with him."

Footnotes
  1. Count Tecchio, from Vicenza, was in the Venetian delegation which came to Isola della Scala
  2. Prof. Mariano Stabile is the Sicilian Minister for Foreign Affairs, as well as the leader of the Sicilian delegation.
  3. Signor Luigi Chiesi, from Reggio di Lombardia, is the leader of the Cispadanian delegation
  4. Count Pompeo Litta, from Milan, was the Minister for War in the Provisional Government of Lombardy, and is now Minister for Confederation affairs in the new government of Lombardy
 
Vincenzo, don't worry, there other Timelines where your dream came true.
Gioberti still has a role to play ITTL. He'll be better anyway here than IOTL, where not only his dream was completely shattered by the Pope (and Il Primato was anyway condemned) but also Italian liberties were curtailed by reactionaries.
 
Gioberti still has a role to play ITTL. He'll be better anyway here than IOTL, where not only his dream was completely shattered by the Pope (and Il Primato was anyway condemned) but also Italian liberties were curtailed by reactionaries.
Better then our timeline isn't so hard. And it wasn't a criticism. I'm Gioberti fan, and I have realized his dreams in a couple of timelines.
 
Narrative Interlude #56: The End of the Beginning, Part 6: Langobardia Capta Ferum Victorem Cepit
The End of the Beginning
Part 6: Langobardia Capta Ferum Victorem Cepit


Verona, Guardia Nuova - 12 May 1848, Afternoon
The delegation of the Romagne, accompanied by Marquis d'Azeglio, was ushered into the same conference room used for the Roman delegation, to declare their intentions with regards to the Italian Confederation.
Ferdinando thought it was an eerie repeat of what happened in the morning. Signor Minghetti stated that the vote to secede from the Papal States and to apply for membership in the Confederation had been unanimously taken by the delegates convened in Imola, and that these decisions were irrevocable. He also added that a Provisional Government had been formed, elections had been called for a Constitutional Conference, which would also serve as interim Parliament. The only difference, and not a minor one, was that the delegates had voted the formal decadence of their allegiance to the Pope, and the creation of a new constitutional monarchy, to be named Grand Duchy of the Romagne: the delegation to Verona had been instructed to offer the crown of the new principality to Prince Ferdinando, in personal union and on the same basis of the agreement recently accepted by Lombardy.

The representatives of the Confederal States had already been briefed about the events in the Romagne, and the speech of signor Minghetti did not surprise anyone.

Prince Ferdinando spoke in answer: "Honorable Delegates of the Romagne, you are welcome in Verona and we are glad to have confirmation of your intention to become members of the Italian Confederation. The signature of the documents for your entry in the Confederation will be done the day after tomorrow, but I can tell you that there will be no one to object. I also thank you for the honor you make to my House, and to me personally, with the offer of the crown of Romagne, but, albeit regretfully, I cannot accept it in good conscience. I am already under obligations to the crowns of Sardinia and Lombardy, and I have also to carry equally significant obligations in my persona of President of the Confederation and ruler of the Confederal Districts: a new state needs the constant presence of its monarch, and it would not be possible for me to give the Romagne the full attention they deserve. I believe, however, that I may suggest you a candidate for the Grand Ducal Crown: my own cousin, Prince Eugenio di Savoia Carignano. A prince in his full maturity, who has had a long and successful career in the Sardinian navy and was chosen by my father the king as Lieutenant for the kingdom of Sardinia when we left for the war. He is married to a Brazilian imperial princess, and their marriage has been already blessed by children. I want to be clear: this is just a suggestion. The final choice will be anyway in the hands of the people of the Romagne, and they will be free to make their own decisions."

"The fix is in" thought Camillo di Cavour "and there has been no overt opposition to Prince Eugenio as the prospective Grand Duke of the Romagne. Even the Tuscans understand that placing a 10-year-old boy on the throne of a new principality is not practical at all. Now the proposed name will be disclosed to the Romagnol assembly, and I am confident it will be found more than suitable."

Verona, Guardia Vecchia - 12 May 1848, Evening

The Grand Ball was ready to start, the Guardia Vecchia Palace was ablaze in light and most of the guests had already arrived.
Only the fashionably late were still missing, and obviously the most high ranked, which might explain why Cavour was lingering close to the entry, chatting amiably with Count Pompeo Litta and Count Tecchio.

A majordomo announced in a stentorian voice: "His Grace Count Alvise Francesco Mocenigo, Doge of the Most Serene Republic of St. Mark, Count Giambattista Giustinian, Patrician of Venice, and his sister, Lady Francesca Giustinian".

Cavour went to welcome Count Mocenigo: "It is a pleasure to greet you again, Your Grace. May I congratulate you on your election as Doge?"

"It is a provisional title only, Count Cavour, the formal election is going to be called only when the Constitutional Convention will conclude its works. Still, I have to admit that I was humbled, and a little worried, by the confidence shown by the Provisional Government in choosing me as provisional Doge to oversee a time of momentous changes."

There was what might be construed as a sort of apologetic smile on the lips of Count Mocenigo, but Cavour was pretty sure it was just a feature of the patrician mask Mocenigo affected. He decided not to pursue further this conversation: niceties had been taken care of, and now he turned to address Count Giustinian: "My warmest welcome to you too, Count Giustinian, and to your beautiful sister: it is the first time I have the pleasure to meet her, but I can well understand how my nephew was so enchanted by her at the ball in Venice (1). Talking of the devil, I can see Captain Cavour coming towards us at full speed. I am very pleased by his eagerness to add his congratulations to mine on the elevation of Count Mocenigo, but I also think he might also have additional goals on his mind." A brief, warm laugh, in which he was joined by Count Mocenigo and Count Giustinian. Lady Francesca blushed prettily, and Augusto di Cavour, who had been close enough to hear the quip of his uncle, couldn't avoid blushing too.

"Welcome to Verona, Your Grace, and my congratulations on your dogeship. Count Giustinian, it is a pleasure to meet you again." Having disposed of the social niceties towards the least interesting members of the Venetian trio, Captain Cavour turned to his true target with a bow: "Welcome to Verona, Lady Francesca. I remain as always your most devoted servant."

Count Mocenigo was quick to show his social adroitness: "My thanks, Captain. Now I believe that there are other people I have to greet. Come with me, Giambattista. I am sure Captain Cavour can be trusted to protect your sister under any circumstance. With your leave, Count Cavour."

"Count Gabrio Casati, Prime Minister of the Provisional Government of Lombardy, Marquis Lorenzo Litta Modignani and his daughter, Lady Paola Litta Modignani." The stentorian voice of the majordomo once again announced new arrivals.

Count Pompeo Litta whispered to Cavour: "You know already Count Casati, but I believe you never met my cousin (2), Marquis Lorenzo. A true patriot, and a dedicated agriculturalist, with a keen interest in the latest development in the field: you will like him, I am quite sure."

Cavour had no problem in welcoming Count Casati and Marquis Litta Modignani, but when he turned to greet Lady Paola he was struck dumb for a few seconds. The Count was no stranger to meeting beautiful ladies (3), and in his life, he had never been at a loss of words, but this time was very different: Lady Paola was beautiful, with long raven-black hair and gray eyes, sparkling with intelligence, and Camillo was immediately stricken by her. He managed to bow and to stammer a few words, but his tongue felt clogged and his wit had certainly deserted him. He was saved by another stentorian announcement:

"His Royal Highness Ferdinando di Savoia, Princeps Italiae (4) and Her Royal Highness Maria Cristina di Savoia, Queen-select of Sicily".

The crowd on the ballroom floor parted, to open a way for Prince Ferdinando, men bowing and ladies curtseying, and by the time he entered and the orchestra started to play, Cavour had at least partially recovered his composure: "Will my Lady grant me the boon of a dance tonight?".

---------------------------------------------------------------

The ball was ending: it had been a quite successful social event, and this time there were many ladies participating in the revel.
Maria Cristina di Savoia e Cristina di Belgioioso were commenting in a low voice the highlights of the ball.

"I believe that we should stop teasing young Augusto: tonight has clearly demonstrated that he and Francesca Giustinian dote on each other. Do you think there will be a marriage by the end of summer?"

"Augusto is not yet 20 years old, it should be more sensible to allow for a longer courtship. This said, I have to admit that this year of 1848 appears not to care much for sensibility or for long, steady courtships. Your prediction may well come true, my dear Cristina, provided that Augusto's father may be helped to see the political opportunities which this marriage will bring. I think my brother will be the proper tutor for the old, stick-in-the-mud Marquis: who could oppose the wishes of the Princeps Italiae? ."

"This means that Venice has drawn first blood, but I am proud to say that Milan is now in the run too. Langobardia capta ferum victorem cepit (5), or at least Lombardy captured the advisor of the barbarous conqueror." Cristina di Belgioioso quipped, with a smile "I would not believe that Camillo di Cavour might be so easily conquered if I had not witnessed the capture and the taming with my own eyes."

"The young rose of Lombardy is truly beautiful, and then again we must remember that this year the world is truly turned upside down. Or maybe the genius loci of Villa Pindemonte has decided to visit Verona incognito. I have my own good reasons to know that he's very powerful, and very kind." There was a serene smile on the lips of Maria Cristina: had she been granted a glimpse of future events?

Cristina di Belgioioso looked intently at Maria Cristina, but did not ask the question which had come to her mind. She limited herself to say: "Paola Litta is not just a beautiful face. I have known the girl for a few years, and she is very intelligent too, and bookish. The right lady to put some more fire in the veins of Camillo, and to remind him he's not yet 40, but also that women are as intelligent and opinionated as men are."


Footnotes
  1. Reference to Interlude #13, "Pas a deux in Venice"
  2. Pompeo Litta Biumi and Lorenzo Litta Modignani belong to two of the various collateral branches of the Litta family, and the word "cousin" must not be interpreted in a literal sense.
  3. Camillo Cavour never showed any interest in marriage, possibly because he was a second son and as such not under the pressure of producing heirs, but also because he never felt the inclination of binding himself to a single person. He had two long relations, one with Anna Giustiniani (a married noblewoman of Genova) between the late 1820s and early 1830s, the other with a Hungarian dancer in Turin during the 1850s, and quite a number of short love stories, mostly with married women. His falling in love head over heels is very much in contrast with his OTL persona, but TTL's Cavour is quite a different and much happier man, and after all 1848 is 1848.
  4. Ferdinando has decided that when in Verona on Confederal Business he will use this title.
  5. From Epistularum liber secundus ( Second Book of Letters) by Horace. Cristina di Belgioioso replaces Graecia with Langobardia (Lombardy)
 
Very nice, and I'm happy for Camillo.
IOTL, Camillo gave a lot to the cause of Italian unification, probably is the only one worth of the name of Father of the Country, but also paid a terrible price in the 1850s when he had to cope with a workload that would have been too much for three or four good politicians. Then he died, in the moment of his greatest triumph but also when his presence would have been even more necessary to ensure that the many teething problems of post-unification Italy would be solved in a satisfactory manner.
ITTL, he will still give a lot, but also gain a more satisfactory result and, as a bonus, he'll also find personal happiness (the survival of his beloved nephew, but also Paola Litta and a family of his own).
 
Narrative Interlude #57: The End of the Beginning Part 7: Un Italiano New
The End of the Beginning
Part 7: Un Italiano
Isola della Scala, Villa Pindemonte - 12 May 1848


Charles Albert felt completely at peace: with himself, with the world and above all with God. Despite his failing health, the tumultuous events of the last few months had gifted him with a clarity of thought and a connection to his own soul he had rarely experienced. Maybe for the first time in his entire life, he knew what to do. He asked his attendee for ink, quill and paper. First, he wrote and signed his act of abdication, with a formal letter to his son Ferdinand, addressed to "His Majesty the King of Sardinia, King-elect of Lombardy, King of Cyprus, King of Jerusalem, by the Grace of God and the Will of the Italian People Princeps Italiae, Ferdinand I of House Savoy”.
Only afterwards, he wrote a private letter to Ferdinando, words pouring out directly of his spirit, without hesitating or even thinking.[1]

"My beloved son,
I have seen a great many things in my life. I was just a boy when Napoleon was shaping and reshaping Europe almost at will. I was barely ayoung when I saw his downfall. It was a strange feeling, dreaming of a world where anything could happen and then being pushed back to a time I could hardly remember. Only faith helped me through, a late discovery to say the least, but the only guiding light in a world that felt anything but right.
Then later, for a brief moment, I thought I could get history back on its track, but I was too coward for that challenge and I ended up backstabbing my friends, the ones who dared to live a dream[2]. Since then, at every step in my life I felt the need to atone for the sin I committed, and I was eternally going from east to west, from north to south, back and forth, torn between the ancient and the new world, never living in the present.
It was maybe the destiny of my own generation to be a bridge between these two worlds, allowing yours to flourish in this spring of 1848. Since the first time I saw you, just a few months after our Lord took in his merciful hands your brother Vittorio Emanuele[3], I knew. I knew I was not meant to be a king, I will give my predecessor Carlo Felice saw that very clearly. I was meant to be your Lieutenant, your Regent, but you, my beloved son, you were born a King, as your sister was born to be a Queen.
I have seen Empires and Kingdoms rise and fall, a false order restored, plots, revolts, failed revolutions, false prophets[4].
I should have been in fear for the new order you and our dear Italian people are trying to give to the world. Turns out I did not not, for God has granted me the clarity to see that this dream of Spring is here to stay. If I could not be the faber[5] of this momentous change, but let me be at least a humble prophet: this will be a golden century for Italy, after all the sufferings and humiliations our beloved people have suffered at the hands of foreign tyrants and homegrown sycophants. I regret I have been one of the latter at many stages of my life. May God forgive my sins, and may the people of Italy remember me as your father rather than an Italian Hamlet[6], or worse an aider and abettor to tyranny.
You may have found it strange for me abdicate in this way, without even warning you, but bear with me: I know what I am doing.
I can hear the joy, the enthusiasm, the love in the voices of the brave Italian people calling you “the Prince of the Italians”: that maybe was enough for your stunning victory at Goito, your resurrection of the Republic of Venice, your courage and your vision in bringing the war to its victorious conclusion, but in the months to come, there will be a need for a King, a true one, someone to guide his people and demand respect of his fellow sovereigns, not for a sickling, a faltering man, whose main distinction in the war has been doing nothing wrong. But that was because I did nothing.
Remember, I have been at a King’s deathbed myself and I do not want for you to repeat my experience, to subject you to some deathbed oath to bind you in times I will not live and I cannot predict.[7]
I hope we can meet before I part from this world, a chance to be the father I never was. Until then, I will fast and pray our Lord for your health, the health of Maria Cristina, of your respective spouses and children, for our Kingdom and for Italy, her beautiful, free land and her brave, free people.”

Only now did Charles Albert hesitate a bit. How should he sign the letter? “Your father” seemed fit, but somehow, he felt such a letter needed something grander- and humbler at the same time. Then God, in his Wisdom, gave him the answer.

“Un Italiano”[8], he signed, not without a faint half-smile, very much alike the one had seen so many times on his son’s lips.

Footnotes

[1] After its publication, this letter became by far one of the most famous writings of the Risorgimento.
[2] Reference to the attempted Sardinian revolution of 1820, lead by Santorre di Santarosa.
[3] Our POD.
[4] It is unclear to whom Charles Albert was referring here. The most likely options are Napoleon, Joseph de Maistre, Gioberti, Pious IX, maybe all and none of them.
[5] Latin for “maker”
[6] To give Charles Albert some justice, ITTL we let he himself be the one who creates his OTL nickname.
[7] A reference to what really happened, both OTL and ITTL, between Charles Albert and his predecessor Carlo Felice.
[8] Reference to the famous OTL (and TTL) "open letter" written to CA by Mazzini and signed “Un Italiano” (An Italian) a few weeks his after his accession to the throne.
 
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