‘I’m palace-less and penniless.’ Playboy princess loses $500m residence in bitter royal feud


It’s a excessive drama that could possibly be torn from an Italian opera: Her Royal Highness Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi had simply half-hour to go away her art-filled palace in Rome final month amid an unsightly feud together with her stepsons — all of them princes.

As she gathered her possessions, rattled and sleep-deprived, she rushed to a again entrance of the On line casino dell’Aurora and tripped on a flight of marble stairs, breaking two ribs and her clavicle.

However she acquired up, taking together with her the household of Ukrainian refugees she had invited to share the palace, forsaking the masterpieces by Caravaggio and Michelangelo and the frescoed ceilings which rival the Vatican’s.

Exterior, one of many three stepsons held courtroom as he celebrated a victory over the Princess — though he’s a needed man within the US, accused of being a wife-beater.

However it’s not an opera, and the princess is the truth is a 73-year-old Texan former Playboy mannequin and businesswoman, who had been granted the 400-year-old residence for all times by her late husband, Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi.


Princess Rita is getting ready for a battle to get again to her residence — as The Submit discloses how her stepsons who pressured her out embrace a needed man and a felony.
Reuters

The princess had given a home to Masha Bratashevska (center), her mom Olga (right), and children  Elisabetta, 7, and Vlad, 8, but they too were forced out in the eviction.
The princess had given a house to Masha Bratashevska (heart), her mother Olga (proper), and youngsters Lisa, 6, and Vlad, 8, however they too had been pressured out within the eviction.
Gari Wyn Williams Photographer

Now Princess Rita is telling The Submit how she has not solely misplaced her residence however is actually penniless, whereas the palace, one in every of Rome’s best repositories of treasures, lies unoccupied and in authorized limbo, together with her three stepsons hoping to be given it later this month.

The battle between the princess and her stepsons has been occurring for 5 years, reaching crescendo final month with a decide’s ruling that she ought to be evicted from a house valued at as much as $500 million.

The cut up is not only between a stepmother and the Princes Bante, 52, Ignazio, 56, and Francesco, 58: it additionally has an anti-American theme.

“As a result of she is an American, she can’t do no matter she desires,” mentioned Prince Bante, standing outdoors the palace gates together with police and courtroom officers on April 20 to observe the eviction proceedings.


The princess was photographed leaving the Villa Aurora on eviction day, April 20, by a back entrance.
The princess was photographed leaving the Villa Aurora on eviction day, April 20, by a again entrance.
AP

Bante Boncompagni Ludovisi, right, son of Prince Nicolo Boncompagni Ludovisi, and Carabinieri police officers stand in front of The Casino dell'Aurora.
Bante Boncompagni Ludovisi, proper, son of Prince Nicolo Boncompagni Ludovisi, and Carabinieri cops stand in entrance of The On line casino dell’Aurora.

However The Submit can disclose that one of many princes is needed in the USA and one other is a felony who has hung out behind bars in two European international locations.

Bante, who’s married to Delphina Lapham, daughter of the journalist Lewis Lapham, was charged with home assault in Newport, RI, accused of shoving his spouse to the bottom throughout an argument, based on a 2012 police report obtained by The Submit.

When he was handcuffed he informed police it was “none of their enterprise” and that they might be “arrested” in Italy, Patch.com reported. Then he fled the US and there may be an open warrant for his arrest.

He informed The Submit by textual content that he dedicated no crime. “To be arrested in Italy, it’s essential to commit a criminal offense,” he mentioned. “I’ve by no means and by no means will commit a criminal offense. It’s recognized all through the world that American police are worse than canines.”


Prince Francesco has served prison time in both Italy and Austria for fraud and tax evasion.
Prince Francesco has served jail time in each Italy and Austria for fraud and tax evasion.

Princess Rita was Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi's third wife.
Princess Rita was Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi’s third spouse.
Marco Mancini

Being needed didn’t cease him from saying of his stepmother as she was evicted: “That is our nation. We have now our police. We have now our judges and it’s essential respect our nation…in any other case, you’ll be able to return to …the place the hell…Texas or the place she’s from.”

His brother, Francesco, 58, a one-time Carabinieri officer, is a convicted fraudster who was jailed within the early Nineties for masterminding a scheme to counterfeit 250,000 bank cards and served another jail term in Austria for tax evasion in 2017. He didn’t reply to requests for remark.

“It has been very Kafkaesque, and deeply disorienting,” mentioned Princess Rita, now homeless, virtually penniless due to her property being frozen, and likewise ordered by an Italian courtroom to pay her stepsons’ authorized payments.


The Villa Aurora is 32,000 square feet, surrounded by landscaped grounds, and the ancestral home of one of the Italian aristocracy's most storied names, the  Boncompagni Ludovisi dynasty.
The Villa Aurora is 32,000 sq. toes, surrounded by landscaped grounds, and the ancestral residence of one of many Italian aristocracy’s most storied names, the Boncompagni Ludovisi dynasty.
Polaris

Before she was evicted, Princess Rita showed one of the jaw-dropping treasures the villa contains: the only known ceiling fresco by Caravaggio.
Earlier than she was evicted, Princess Rita confirmed one of many jaw-dropping treasures the villa incorporates: the one recognized ceiling fresco by Caravaggio.
Reuters

She spoke to The Submit from her momentary quarters on the outskirts of Rome — a villa she mentioned was generously loaned to her by one other royal, Princess Maria Pia Ruspoli.

“Bante has been very aggressive with me for no cause,” mentioned Princess Rita, who was getting ready to go away Italy for one more momentary residence offered by associates, this time on the outskirts of Paris. “None of it needed to occur this manner. I’m fairly simple to get together with.”

The three princes every declare they personal a portion of the 32,000 sq. foot Renaissance villa and its surrounding property, which is the ancestral residence of the Boncompagni Ludovisi clan — a household which for lots of of years produced princes, potentates, and popes, together with Gregory XIII, the creator of the trendy Gregorian calendar.


The Villa Aurora is packed with treasures with most of its ceilings frescoed when it was built in the 1600s.
The Villa Aurora is full of treasures with most of its ceilings frescoed when it was constructed within the 1600s.
Polaris

A poignant reminder of Prince Nicolò still stood inside the villa before the eviction: a portrait of him and Princess Rita, under a bust of Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi, his kinsman who first built the villa.
A poignant reminder of Prince Nicolò nonetheless stood contained in the villa earlier than the eviction: a portrait of him and Princess Rita, underneath a bust of Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi, his kinsman who first constructed the villa.
Polaris

However so bitter is the feud over the property that the three princes even claimed they personal a portion of the princess’ 16-year-old Mercedes. And the courtroom seized that too.

“I misplaced my residence of 20 years, my Ukrainian company had been thrown out on the road with no place to go, my canines are traumatized, and the custodian [judge] wouldn’t let me take my automobile,” the princess mentioned

The refugee household from Kyiv whom she had welcomed to the palace after the Russian invasion of Ukraine final yr has additionally been pressured into momentary quarters, 37 miles south of Rome. Their cramped condominium is barely out there for one more week, “after which the unknown,” mentioned Masha Bratashevska, 40, a stylist from Kyiv.

“All of our acquaintances are attempting to assist us discover one thing to lease for a number of months, however to no avail,” she informed The Submit.


Ukrainian refugee children Elisabetta, Vlad, and brother Alessandro (rear) played under the priceless ceiling fresco painted by Italian Baroque painter Guercino at the Villa Aurora before they were evicted.
Ukrainian refugee kids Elisabetta, Vlad, and brother Alessandro (rear) performed underneath the priceless ceiling fresco painted by Italian Baroque painter Guercino on the Villa Aurora earlier than they had been evicted.

Now, with the intention to get to highschool, her youngest kids, Elisabetta, 7, and Vlad, 8, should go away at 5 am to make the journey by prepare to central Rome and their old style close to the palace. “The youngsters nonetheless go to the native college,” she mentioned. “Stability, not less than in a roundabout way, is extraordinarily vital now.”

Bratashevska’s eldest son, now 17, has returned to Ukraine to stay together with his father. Bullied in school whereas he was in Italy, Alessandro desperately missed his father, who was pressured to remain in Ukraine due to a decree that males over the age of 18 should stay within the nation.

“Because of Rita, this place grew to become a second residence for us, the place we had been capable of settle down and restore regular life, particularly the kids,” mentioned Bratashevska, “The information of the eviction was completely beautiful and surprising for us.”

After the eviction, the youngest kids returned to the villa final month to gather the garments and toys they’d left behind, then locked themselves in a room and refused to go away, Princess Rita informed The Submit.


The Post met Princess Rita at her temporary quarters on the outskirts of Rome — a villa she said was generously loaned to her by another royal, Princess Maria Pia Ruspoli.
The Submit met Princess Rita at her momentary quarters on the outskirts of Rome — a villa she mentioned was generously loaned to her by one other royal, Princess Maria Pia Ruspoli.
Gari Wyn Williams Photographer

“Each time Vlad sees me he palms me cash,” mentioned Princess Rita. “He mentioned he desires to assist me. It’s been such a brutal ending to a ravishing story.”

Born Rita Carpenter in San Antonio in November 1949, the princess’s father C. Hunt Carpenter was an insurance coverage tycoon-turned pure fuel millionaire. After a privileged upbringing, she grew to become a Republican occasion official — then in 1976 married Democratic South Carolina Congressman John Jenrette.

However he was a serial cheat, so she wrote the best-selling tell-all “My Capitol Secrets,” posed nude in Playboy in 1981, and divorced him simply earlier than he was convicted of bribery. That led to a rollicking profession that included performing, modeling, and reporting for “A Present Affair” earlier than she turned to actual property.


As Rita Carpenter Jenrette, the princess posed for Playboy magazine in 1981, months after the release of her tell-all Washington DC memoir "My Capitol Secrets"
As Rita Carpenter Jenrette, the princess posed for Playboy journal in 1981, months after the discharge of her tell-all Washington DC memoir “My Capitol Secrets and techniques”
handout

She met Prince Nicolò within the early aughts when one in every of his associates requested her to function his dealer for a lodge he needed to develop on his property. In 2009 she grew to become his third spouse; the prince’s mom, Benedetta Barberini Colonna di Sciarra, was his first.

A number of years later, she underwent surgical procedure for a mind tumor. Regardless of the well being scare and what she acknowledges had been tensions within the Boncompagni Ludovisi clan, “we had an exquisite life collectively,” she mentioned, devoting their time to renovating the villa and documenting its treasures.

There’s a Caravaggio fresco on one of many ceilings, works by Italian Baroque grasp Guercino and a sculpture lately attributed to Michelangelo within the gardens.

The villa, a former searching lodge, sits on the previous residence of Julius Cesar and was a de rigueur cease for visiting artists and writers to Rome within the nineteenth century, together with Henry James, who wrote a part of his “Italian Hours” within the villa within the 1870s.

To honor the novelist, whose work she recites from reminiscence, Princess Rita named one in every of her white bichons frisés “Henry James.” (The others are George Washington, Milord, and Gioia, Italian for “pleasure”)


The priceless Caravaggio ceiling painting in the Villa Aurora.
The priceless Caravaggio ceiling portray within the Villa Aurora.
Polaris

Since 2010, Princess Rita has labored with Corey Brennan, a classics professor at Rutgers College in New Jersey to digitize more than 150,000 historic paperwork, together with letters from guillotined French queen Marie Antoinette, discovered among the many Ludovisi household archives.

“It’s nearly unbelievable the issues we’ve discovered,” mentioned Brennan, who collaborated with the princess on “Villa Ludovisi: A Biography,” a guide that chronicles the property’s treasures and historical past, which is scheduled to be launched in 2024.

However when the prince died in 2018, there was open warfare, and claims by the princes that she had lately allowed harm to the property — which Brennan mentioned was minimal — and was charging for excursions of the property.


The princess hopes to find a home for the Bratashevskas, who fled Ukraine.
The princess hopes to discover a residence for the Bratashevskas, who fled Ukraine.
Gari Wyn Williams Photographer

The sons’ complaints led a courtroom in Rome to subject an eviction discover in January, which was lastly enforced with police arriving outdoors the palace gates on April 20.

Shortly after the eviction, with the locks modified and safety cameras off, “unknown folks” went by means of and ripped panels away to reveal a protected, based on a photograph seen by The Submit. It’s not clear if something was stolen, the princess mentioned, though she did discover that her hairdryer was lacking when she returned to gather her belongings.

Now, she has six legal professionals, she informed The Submit, and they’re scheduled to be again in courtroom on the finish of the month to combat the eviction at a listening to the place the princes hope to take full management of the constructing. The US embassy in Rome has supplied their assist, she mentioned.

“The rationale Rita was so unprepared for her personal scenario is that she spent all of her time worrying in regards to the Ukrainians and the place they had been going to go,” Brennan informed The Submit.

“Princess Rita has change into an actual Guardian Angel of our household,” mentioned Bratashevska. “I understand how a lot Rita has completed for this villa…It is extremely painful that such injustice exists.”



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