Blood of the Braganças part III
João VI’s decision as Prince Regent to flee across the Atlantic to Brazil rather than submit to capture by Napoléon’s forces was the defining moment of his rule, leading on the one hand to a weakening of the bonds between the Portuguese people and the monarchy, and on the other to the loss of Brazil, the largest and by far the richest of Portugal’s colonies, to national independence.
It was nevertheless the right choice, denying any façade of legitimacy to the French occupation of Portugal and denying Napoléon also control of the globe-spanning Portuguese colonial empire. In his final exile on St Helena Napoléon said of João VI ‘He was the only one that fooled me.’ João VI has often been portrayed as ignorant, unintelligent, indolent and ineffectual, even though all the evidence is otherwise. No one has ever called Napoléon stupid, and evidently he also did not agree with the cartoonish view of his Portuguese foe that persists to this day in some quarters.
And in Brazil, he was recognised at the time and has been since as the Father of the Nation. When the death of João VI was announced to the Brazilian Senate, the Marqués de Caravelas said of their late lord ‘He raised Brazil to a kingdom, provided well for all of us, treated us always with great affection, and all Brazilians are obligated to him.’
The seventh Bragança to rule thus seems fully worthy of his predecessors to me, admirable as they all were; even the demented Afonso VI had accomplishments to his name, and José I cannot truly be accused of abdicating his responsibilities when he entrusted them to so capable a lieutenant. João VI would have four successors in rule from the original House, two sons, a granddaughter and a grandson. I will now turn to consideration of these and their siblings, beginning with the daughters of João VI.
As seis irmãs
Of the eight legitimate children of João VI that lived to adulthood, five have descendants today, two of the sons and three of the daughters. However, the daughters are either without descendants in royal lines or, in one case, will be after the last of the current generation nearest to her dies, and while the two sons do number present-day royalty among their respective posterities only the younger of them has descendants in currently rather than formerly reigning Houses.
Eldest of the daughters and first-born of all the children, Infanta Maria Teresa can be swiftly dealt with. Her first husband was Infante Pedro of Spain and Portugal, her first cousin as another grandchild of Maria I of Portugal. They had but one child, the Infante Sebastian of Spain and Portugal mentioned in the previous part, where it was also shown that his posterity today extends to nobility of several countries but has no royal members.
The youngest daughter, Infanta Ana, is the other whose posterity lacks royal members, but for a different reason. While her eldest sister married equally but her only child was stripped of royal rank, Infanta Ana married unequally to begin with, to the future 1o Duque de Loulé, a Portuguese nobleman. The couple made sure of gaining permission for this marriage by anticipating it, the Infanta being eight months pregnant when wed. The child, a daughter, lived and has descendants today, as do the two sons of Infanta Ana. But it can be seen here that her posterity through them is confined to Portuguese and Italian nobility (albeit some of the latter have other royal blood).
Among them, the present Duque de Loulé (not shown) is considered by some to have a claim to the Portuguese throne. It is arguable on technical grounds that he does, indeed his is strictly speaking the only valid claim under Portugal’s last monarchical Constitution, but as far as I know the Duque does not pursue it. I look rather to Dom Duarte Pio, who has been active all his life in support of his father’s claim and then his own, has the backing of the majority of Portuguese monarchists, and is a Bragança.
The third daughter of João VI with descendants today was also the third of them to be born, and his fifth child, Infanta Maria Francisca. She was the first wife of Infante Carlos of Spain, who on the death of his brother Fernando VII claimed the succession as Carlos V but succeeded only in starting the whole grim cycle of the Carlist Wars, never coming within touching distance of the Throne. Husband and wife were uncle and niece, and the link shows a third relationship, albeit posthumous, in that after Infanta Maria Francisca’s death Don Carlos married her sister Infanta Maria Teresa above. This second marriage for both of them produced no issue, but Infanta Maria Teresa’s nephew/first cousin and eventually stepson Don Juan Carlos, Juan III as Carlist claimant, has a posterity today of whom some few qualify as royal but, due to morganatic marriages, their children and further descendants do not.
I’m not sure how many Levitical laws were breached by Don Carlos’s two marriages, but more than one I would think. His brother Fernando VII married four times, to a first cousin, then a niece, then a first cousin once removed, then another niece, so there were a few breaches going on there too. He had children that lived and produced issue themselves only by niece #2, but we are concerned here solely with niece #1, who was Infanta Maria Isabel, second daughter and third child of João VI. She gave birth to two daughters before her own early death aged 21, but the first of these lived only four months and the second was stillborn.
João VI had two more daughters, one of whom, Infanta Isabel, lived to 75 years old and played a part in historical events but never married, while the other, Infanta Maria, died aged 29, also unmarried. That completes the tale of the daughters, six in all, what of the sons?
Os três irmãos
The first-born son of João VI, and his second child, was Infante Francisco, but he was the sole progeny of João VI not to survive childhood, dying when six years old. He had only two names, the second being António, so had he lived would have added a new name to the roll of those borne by Portugal’s sovereigns.
But he did not live, and so his then two-year-old brother Infante Pedro became heir instead, eventually to reign as Pedro I of Brazil and, briefly, Pedro IV of Portugal. The fourth-born child of João VI, he remained his only son from his elder brother’s death until the fateful birth sixteen months later of Infante Miguel, seventh-born child and youngest son of João VI of Portugal and Carlota Joaquina of Spain, who though only a metaphorical witch seemed to exercise a genuine spell over this child of hers in particular.
It is pointless to speculate on the course of Portugal’s history had Infante Pedro remained the couple’s sole surviving son, but that it would have been a happier history in the period concerned seems more than probable. As things were, Miguel made several attempts to depose his father, succeeding on one occasion in taking him captive and seizing the rule into his own hands, only for British forces to release and reinstate the King, Miguel being exiled and his mother, his evil genius, placed under house arrest.
When the father he had repeatedly betrayed died Miguel was still abroad, banned from Portugal. There was no explicit statement by the late King as to the succession; on the face of it things were clear enough, the Emperor of Brazil as eldest son was now King, but his existing throne complicated the issue, as did the political situation in Portugal. Liberal forces wanted Pedro, conservative and reactionary forces wanted Miguel, who was seen as (and was) their man. An argument was made that in warring against the Crown in the fight for Brazil’s independence its now Emperor had disqualified himself and all his line from the Portuguese succession, an argument that somehow did not get applied to the conservatives’ candidate, though it certainly could have been.
In Brazil, too, a return of even personal union with Portugal was not viewed with favour. Eventually Pedro attempted to reconcile all the different conundrums by abdicating for Portugal in favour of his then seven-year-old daughter Maria, his eldest child. She had been in a unique position in all history as far as I know, being heiress presumptive to her father while having a full and legitimate brother living. This was due to her having been born in Brazil but before independence, when it was part of the Portuguese dominions. Her brother Infante Pedro was so of Brazil only, as born after independence he was thus born outside the realm of Portugal (albeit in the same city and probably room as his sister) and by law was ineligible to succeed to its crown.
Maria was heiress presumptive rather than apparent* as her father could in theory have returned to Portugal and had a legitimate son there. He did do the former but not the latter, and anyway his abdication rendered the question moot. She was now Maria II da Glória, the second regnant Queen of Portugal and the Algarves, with her aunt Infanta Isabel installed as Regent in Portugal. So the Brazilians were happy, but her uncle Miguel and his supporters were not. The solution there was to affiance Maria II to her uncle, who could return to Portugal, take over the regency for his bride, and in due course, it was hoped, produce sons with his niece to carry on the Bragança line.
Miguel agreed, but without ever meaning to keep faith. The young Queen was put on a ship for Europe, but was not to see her rightful realm for several years more. Landing at Gibraltar, the royal party learned that her uncle had kept only the part of the agreement whereby he returned and assumed the regency, thereafter repudiating the Constitutional Charter he had sworn to and seizing the Crown for himself. His niece and rejected fiancée was to do the rest of her growing-up travelling around various European Courts, until in 1834 when Maria was fifteen her father, who had in the meantime abdicated Brazil to her young brother and travelled to Europe to lead the fight for recovery of his daughter’s throne, finally triumphed over his brother, her uncle.
Miguel I, as he must be called having reigned for nearly six years in Portugal and been recognised as its sovereign by other nations, accepted permanent exile in return for a pension (never paid due to his breaches of the overall agreement), and made his home first in Rome, as a dependant of the Pope, then in England and finally in Baden, where aged 48, and having until then seemed a confirmed bachelor, he married Princess Adelheid of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. Who was his sixth cousin once removed, so by one generation the most remotely related Bragança royal bride† to that date, herself nineteen and, it turned out, a formidable lady and a determined and highly successful matchmaker for her six daughters.
The eldest of these, Infanta Maria das Neves, married her first cousin once removed Don Alfonso Carlos, last Carlist pretender of the original line and thus the last with any shred of legitimacy to his claim (I do not in any way support historical Carlism, but it did at least have an arguable basis of claim, unlike the present-day absurdity), but had no children. The next daughter, Infanta Maria Theresa, was the third wife of her third cousin Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria, the Princes of Liechtenstein from Franz Joseph II onwards being descendants of this union. The next, Infanta Maria Josepha, married as his second wife another third cousin, but once removed this time, Karl Theodor, Duke in Bavaria, and is by their marriage an ancestress of the Kings of Belgium from Léopold III on, and also of the present Grand Duke of Luxembourg and of Prince Joseph Wenzel, who in the course of nature will eventually be Prince of Liechtenstein.
Daughter number four, Infanta Adelgunde, was the wife of her second cousin once removed Prince Enrico of Parma, younger brother of the last reigning Duke Roberto I, but as with his first marriage their union was childless. Not so that of the fifth daughter, Infanta Maria Anna. She married her fifth cousin Guillaume IV, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, a Protestant reigning over a Catholic country who sought a Catholic bride so that future sovereigns would be of the same religion as their subjects. The present Grand Duke is the fourth Luxembourg sovereign of their descent, following two of their daughters who reigned in succession and then their grandson by the second of the daughters, father of the current monarch.
And not so that of the sixth and youngest daughter Infanta Antonia, who was the second wife of the aforementioned Roberto I of Parma. He naturally had the same relationship, second cousin once removed, with her as his younger brother Enrico had with her elder sister Infanta Adelgunde. The union was productive of twelve children, including the famous Empress Zita, last Austrian Empress as wife of Karl I. Another child of it was Prince Felix of Parma, who married Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, the second daughter of Guillaume IV and Infanta Maria Anna to reign. By their marriage he was the paternal grandfather of the present Grand Duke, who thus descends from three of the six daughters of Dom Miguel and his matchmaking bride.
There are in fact people who descend from all four daughters with a surviving posterity, to wit Prince Joseph Emanuel of Liechtenstein and his sisters, but I think three is enough to be going on with. There was besides the daughters a son and heir, the second-born child, Infante Miguel. He married first his fourth cousin, Princess Elisabeth of Thurn and Taxis, but while there are living descendants of that union the aforesaid Dom Duarte Pio is not among them, being instead Infante Miguel’s grandson by his second marriage, which was to his first cousin Princess Theresa of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg.
Most probably the former Miguel I married for money, he having none and the Löwensteins being extremely wealthy. The marriage was equal, his bride’s family being of mediatised status, and their children had full dynastic rank, albeit they like their father were prohibited by law from entering the kingdom they were Infantas and an Infante of.
It appears also to have been happy, the former rebel, usurper and tyrant (his reign had been marked by numerous executions of political opponents, which blackened the name of Portugal all over Europe) settling into a life of contented domesticity, the very model of a Victorian paterfamilias, and never seeking to return to the cockpit of politics in which he had spent the first half of his life. As a child Dom Miguel had fled the advancing armies of Napoléon; with his marrying so late, the last of his children to die did so in 1959, in an era when jet aircraft could carry her across the Atlantic in eight or nine hours. The crossing in 1807 took fifty-four days.
Amor e fidelidade
Tall, handsome, affable and approachable to all, a brilliant and daring horseman, of keen intellect and widely read, speaking six languages and playing six different musical instruments as well as being a talented singer, the nineteen-year-old Infante Dom Pedro, Prince of Brazil, found it very easy to win the heart of his twenty-year-old bride, Archduchess Maria Leopoldina, a daughter of Emperor Franz I of Austria who had been shipped from Vienna to Rio de Janeiro to marry her twice second cousin the Portuguese and Brazilian heir. And it did not take him long to begin breaking it.
Despite all these virtues he was restless and impulsive by nature, easily bored and rarely sticking to any task. His learning was wide but not deep, he having been in the habit of dismissing his tutors whenever his lessons irked him and turning to more physical pursuits, and he spoke none of his six languages well, not even Portuguese, his being vulgar and coarse due to the low-born companions he preferred. Worst of all from his new bride’s perspective, he had been a compulsive womaniser since earliest youth, and had no intention of changing upon marriage.
Children began to arrive, first the future Maria II, then two short-lived sons, Infantes Miguel and João Carlos, then three more daughters, Infanta Januáría who was for a time heiress presumptive and Princess Imperial of Brazil, Infanta Paula who lived only to age nine, then the youngest daughter Infanta Francisca. Brazil’s independence was three years old when at last its future second Emperor Infante Pedro was born, and the next year the young country lost its first Empress, her eighth child miscarrying and she dying of the resulting complications.
Grief-stricken and guilt-ridden, for he had gone beyond regular betrayal of his marriage to openly flaunting his latest mistress at Court and exposing his wife to public ridicule, the Emperor swore to reform his life and be a much better man in whatever of it remained to him. Ambassadors were sent to Europe to seek a new bride, a necessity with only one male heir and he a vulnerable infant, but Pedro I’s treatment of his wife was well-known in Europe’s Courts and his protestations of repentance not believed.
And indeed while he had sent his mistress away to begin with he allowed her to return when no royal bride seemed in immediate or even distant prospect. His ambassadors were instructed however to lower their sights, and one of them suggested Princess Amélie of Leuchtenberg, sister of the Crown Princess of Sweden. It might be all very well for a common-born Bernadotte, Crown Prince Oscar, to marry from the similarly upstart Beauharnais family, but for the head of an established royal house to do so? Amélie though was an exquisitely beautiful young woman, cultured, virtuous and kind, and other options were lacking, so she followed Archduchess Maria Leopoldina in sailing to Brazil to marry Dom Pedro, now Brazil’s Emperor rather than its heir.
Who was enchanted with his twice fourth cousin once removed (not to mention five times fifth cousin, all these relationships through the same mutual ancestor). On news of the betrothal he had again dismissed his mistress, permanently this time, and founded the Order of the Rose, its motto ‘Love and fidelity’. Neither of which he had displayed towards his first Empress, but to his second he remained loving and faithful until his death aged only 35, hastened by the rigours he had endured leading a bold, brilliant and ultimately successful campaign to recover his daughter Maria II’s rightful throne.
‘Dom Pedro did not die. Only ordinary men die, not heroes.’ These were the words with which Brazilian statesman Bonifácio de Andrada informed the Emperor’s minor children who had remained in Brazil of their father’s death. And indeed he was a hero, all his earlier faults redeemed by the gallantry and self-sacrifice he showed in his daughter’s cause and by his sincere repentance and reformation. Accompanying these were a recognition of the deficiencies in his education and upbringing, his headstrong nature and lack of application having combined with an over-indulgent father and a mother he held in entire contempt and had little to do with to produce an uncontrolled youth. His son, he determined, would not be another such, and before sailing for Europe never to return he laid down a rigorous scheme of instruction and discipline for the little boy who would now be Emperor.
And for a wonder it worked, itself combining with the virtues of the young Dom Pedro II’s own character and his innate gifts to produce one of the greatest sovereigns, and men, considered in these threads. But it combined also with the abandonment of a child just five years old by his father and adored stepmother to fulfil his father’s words, spoken when his infant heir was younger still.
O príncipe mais infeliz do mundo
‘Poor boy, you are the unhappiest prince in the world.’ Thus Dom Pedro I to the future Dom Pedro II, holding his son on his knees as anguish at his own cruelty towards the boy’s mother consumed him. A lonely childhood in an adult-dominated world where he was rarely allowed to see even his sisters that had remained behind, let alone other children, and his days were filled with endless lessons and no time for play, was brought to an abrupt end when, aged fourteen, he was declared of age in a desperate attempt to rescue Brazil’s collapsing political systems. And that too worked, a personal rule that would span forty-nine years raising Brazil to new heights of prosperity, enhancing its culture and magnifying its international prestige.
Always reigning in accordance with strict constitutional principles, Pedro II was a guardian, guide and leader to his people rather than any kind of autocrat, and his unswerving devotion to duty and steadfast courage in periods of national adversity won him the admiration and love of all Brazilians. Yet he was happy perhaps only on the birth of his two sons, Afonso and Pedro, each in turn Prince Imperial of Brazil and each in turn dead at less than three years old, causing an anguish commensurate with the joy they had brought, and on the news brought to him while travelling in Europe, that his lifelong goal of abolishing slavery in his dominions had at last been accomplished.
He performed his duties as Brazilian sovereign with his whole heart and with brilliant success, yet they brought him no joy. He never had a childhood and he never had an adult life to call his own either. Nor did his marriage, to his twice first cousin once removed Princess Teresa Cristina of the Two Sicilies, bring any happiness. This was not due to any failing of hers, except one that she could not help. She was a wholly admirable person, a devoted wife and a loving mother to her children, who came to be called Mãe dos Brasileiros, ‘Mother of the Brazilians’, for the way in which she performed her duties as Empress.
Her failing was that she was not physically attractive, and though she had no trouble falling in love with her bridegroom, tall and handsome like his father, she kindled no such passion in him. He was so disappointed on first meeting her that he thought of repudiating the marriage agreement, but was persuaded that he must go through with it (duty again). There were two other children besides the aforementioned short-lived boys, Infantas Isabel and Leopoldina, but after the death of their second son marital relations ceased, the Emperor unwilling to risk more heartbreak.
Which led indirectly to the end of the Empire of Brazil. Aged sixty-four and in poor health, as he had been for several years, Pedro II was suddenly confronted with a coup. It enjoyed practically no popular support, being led by a group of self-interested former slaveowners and the Emperor continuing to be widely loved by his people, yet he made no attempt to resist it, as he could have done with almost certain success. Worn out by a life lived in service of everyone but himself and unconvinced that his daughter and heiress Isabel could ever successfully reign over Brazil’s macho society, he meekly surrendered and went into exile, dying in poverty two years later.
The so-called republic, in reality a military dictatorship, that replaced his benevolent and constitutional rule was, as could be expected, an entire disimprovement. Had one of his sons but lived, then the Emperor would surely not have failed in his duty at last and would have quelled the rebellion and handed on his crown to his heir, with the Brazilian Empire perhaps surviving to this day. But it is hard to blame him. Some words from a lesser-known Bob Dylan song, I and I (1983) occur irresistibly in the context of Pedro II’s monumentally successful but also monumentally sad life:
I’ve made shoes for everyone, even you
While I still go barefoot
Isabel, now always to remain Princess Imperial and never be Empress, and her sister Leopoldina married double first cousins, Prince Gaston d’Orléans, comte d’Eu, and Prince August of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, their own second cousins. Descent survives today from both unions, and is discussed in the 1871 note on posterities.
Descent survives also from the three daughters of Pedro I that lived to adulthood, Maria II, Januária and Francisca. Having first married her fifth cousin (and brother of her stepmother, though I’m not sure how you’d describe that relationship) Prince August of Leuchtenberg, on losing him to an early grave Maria II as mentioned married again, this time to her fourth cousin once removed Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He not only lived more than two months past the wedding but survived his bride by thirty-two years. Of their eleven children seven lived past infancy, three of these having children of their own.
The three did not include Maria II’s son and successor Pedro V, he dying childless aged twenty-four. They did include her second son Luís I, but his last descendant, Portugal’s last King Manoel II, died in 1932. Maria II’s successors incidentally never called themselves Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Braganças as you will sometimes see, but simply Braganças, which as heirs of the great Royal House they were entitled to do. Nevertheless they were patrilineally undoubted Wettins, hence my references above to Pedro II and Maria II being the last Bragança sovereigns of the original line.
The Bragança blood that does survive today from Maria II is via two of her daughters, Infanta Maria Ana who married her thrice third cousin once removed Georg I of Saxony and Infanta Antonia who married her also thrice sixth cousin once removed Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern. When 1918 began Maria Ana’s son Friedrich August III of Saxony and grandson Karl I of Austria occupied European thrones, as did Antonia’s son Ferdinand I of Romania. When it ended only the last was left, and since 1947 Maria II has only been able to claim a former sovereign among her descendants, Michael I of Romania, great-grandson of Antonia and Leopold of Hohenzollern.
Should he be restored, as we all devoutly wish, then the next Romanian monarch would be descended not only from Maria II but from her youngest sister, Francisca. She married her first cousin once removed Prince François d’Orléans, prince de Joinville, and is through that marriage a great-great-great-grandmother of King Michael’s children. Other descendants include the comte de Paris, claimant to the throne of France and Navarre, the Duke of Apulia, heir to the Aosta claim to Italy, the Duke of Noto, heir to the Calabria claim to the Two Sicilies, and, rounding off the Italian theme, Prince Lorenz of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este and titular Duke of Modena.
The other daughter of Pedro I from whom descent survives, Infanta Januária, married her twice first cousin once removed Prince Lodovico of the Two Sicilies. Descent survives today from their eldest child Prince Luigi of the Two Sicilies, but does not extend to any royal lines. And now there is just one more daughter of Pedro I to consider before we are done with the whole tale of the Blood of the Braganças.
This is Infanta Maria Amelia of Brazil, sole child of his second marriage. As beautiful, accomplished, virtuous and kind as her mother, she was affianced to Archduke Maximilian of Austria, a love match rather than any arrangement between the families. Alas, aged just twenty-one Maria Amelia developed consumption, the same disease that had claimed her father. Sent to Madeira in the hope that the island’s salubrious climate might restore her health, instead she died there, to the great grief of her fiancé. Had she lived, would she have talked her husband out of his mad Mexican adventure? Or encouraged it and, with her beauty and charm, won Mexican hearts in a way her husband never could, allowing both the Mexican Empire and him to survive? We can never know.
With that the three-part saga does at last conclude, but not quite the thread. What follows are two charts, though I will briefly discuss them here rather than at length in between them as I originally intended. The first illustrates a point about the children of Pedro I, who having eight separate great-grandparents do not at first glance appear particularly inbred. But there are ways and ways of being inbred, and the first chart analyses the relationships between those eight great-grandparents by way of showing that these children, Maria II and Pedro II included, were indeed inbred, and very much so.
No relationships are multiple, so there are (8*7)/2 =28 in all. They are formed through just six different ancestors; of the six, Pedro’s children were descended from C3S (see key) three times, FIE twice, FVS five times, JVP twice, LEI seven times and PEP the stupefying total of fourteen. Nevertheless none of them seemed to be afflicted with any kind of hereditary defect, indeed all were attractive and intelligent and the two sovereigns among them discharged their duties admirably and capably, rather more than that in Pedro II’s case.
The final chart is an addendum to the original set, showing Pedro II’s relationships with the other 1848 sovereigns. This might appear a pointless exercise, since naturally the relationships are exactly the same as those of his full sister Maria II, but there is a point to it. The similar addendum I prepared for 1871 had the other sovereigns in accession order, whereas this one has them in the order of the charts. Arranging them in this way makes it very evident just how stark the contrast is between the Emperor’s relationships with his co-religionists and those with Protestant and Orthodox fellow sovereigns, something that is not so apparent with his sister’s relationships, which are spread over two charts rather than appearing all together.
And now the thread is finally complete, unless (it now being unlocked again) anyone else has a contribution to make. I feel I ought to offer anyone who reads this far a special prize, but that is not really practicable. So if anyone does they will have to make do with my good wishes, and hopes that they found at least some enjoyment and interest along the way.
* The only pre-20th century heiress apparent to a royal throne that I know of is covered in the 1371 thread, introduction part I.
† While re-reading this it occurred to me that I never worked out the relationship between Princess Maria Francesca of Savoy-Nemours and her successive husbands, the brothers Afonso VI and Pedro II, and ought to do so before describing Dom Miguel’s marriage as the remotest to that date. It turned out to be fifth cousin twice removed, and through a rather surprising mutual ancestor.