The King Who Never Was review: Notable story isn’t all that engaging

The King Who Never Was is a docu-series that follows the former Crown Prince of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia, who was involved in an unfortunate shooting of a teenager while on holiday. The series is streaming on Netflix.


Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia was exiled from Italy along with his father, the erstwhile king, after a referendum to decide whether Italy would continue as a monarchy or become a republic went in favor of a republic in 1946.

Even though he lived in exile, Vittorio grew up with a privileged upbringing and still possessed a diplomatic passport and influential connections.

While on holiday in his residence on Cavallo island in 1978, Vittorio clashed with a group of vacationing youngsters and in a moment of rage, ended up firing his rifle at them. One of the shots struck a German teenager named Dirk Hamer who eventually passed away.

Dirk’s sister Birgit fought for justice as Vittorio used all of his power and privilege to ensure that he wasn’t convicted of this horrific crime.


The series is scored really well and can be considered one of the better aspects of it. The tone varies depending on the subject matter and it usually fits well.


The series doesn’t have a focused approach and just casually covers Vittorio’s life while occasionally looking at Birgit’s life within the crown prince’s orbit. Despite their best efforts, the series doesn’t have a hook that captures the viewers’ attention.

Telling the story from Vittorio’s perspective immediately adds a bias because the general public generally prefers the underdog rather than the privileged. Vittorio himself comes across as unapologetic and contradictory.

Vittorio’s accusation of the King of Spain right at the end felt unnecessary and almost acts like a buffer to distract from everything that was just covered before it.


The King Who Never Was is a series that might have been better off as a film. It showcases the advantages that come with power and influence but doesn’t provide an interesting exploration of the events that unfolded.

The King Who Never Was
The King Who Never Was review: Notable story isn't all that engaging 1

Director: Beatrice Borromeo

Date Created: 2023-07-04 12:30

Editor's Rating:

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