From: Gene Herman


Prince Giorgio the First, from the tiny principality of Seborga, nestled in the Italian Riviera, died at his home, on November 25.

In the 1960s, Giorgio Carbone, a bewhiskered grower of mimosa flowers from a family of mimosa growers, was seized by a glorious vision: that Seborga was not part of the surrounding Italian nation. It was an ancient principality, he claimed, cruelly robbed of its sovereignty.

After convincing his Seborgan neighbors of their true significance, Giorgio Carbone was elected prince in 1963. He gracefully accepted the informal title of "His Tremendousness," and later, was elected "Prince for Life" in 1995, by a vote of 304 to 4.

Prince Giorgio established a palace, wrote a constitution, and set up a cabinet and a parliament. He chose a coat of arms, minted money (with his picture), issued stamps (with his picture), designed license plates, selected a national anthem and mobilized a standing army, consisting of Lt. Antonello Lacala.

He also adopted a motto for Seborga: Sub Umbra Sede -- which means, "Sit in the Shade."

He traveled in a flag-bedecked Mercedes Benz that was briefly impounded by the Italian police because of its Seborgan plates.

Prince Giorgio accepted no salary, although he daily availed himself of ham and cheese from the village shop, a royal perquisite.

He left no heirs and succession plans are uncertain.