Brazilian imperial family

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The Brazilian imperial family currently, in the photo: the Prince and Princess Imperial, the Prince of Grão-Pará, Princess Maria Gabriela, Princess Amélia and her husband Alexander James Spearman and his son.

The Brazilian imperial family comprises Prince Bertrand and his close relatives. The imperial family ruled the Empire of Brazil from 1822 to 1889, following the proclamation of independence by Prince Pedro of Braganza, who was later hailed as Pedro I of Brazil, Constitutional Emperor and Perpetual Defender of Brazil. Family members are dynastic descendants of Emperor Pedro I of Brazil.

Family members are dynastic descendants of Emperor Pedro I of Brazil. Claimants to the head of the post-monarchical Brazilian imperial legacy descend from Emperor Pedro II of Brazil, including the senior agnates of two branches of the House of Orléans-Braganza; the so-called Petrópolis branch and Vassouras branch lines. Prince Pedro Carlos, Prince of Brazil (born 1945) heads the Petrópolis branch, while the Vassouras branch is led by his second cousin, Bertrand, Prince of Brazil.

Family rivalry erupted in 1946 , when Prince Pedro Gastão, Prince of Brazil (1913–2007) repudiated the resignation of his late father, Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará (1875–1940), for himself and his future descendants, when he made a non - dynastic marriage in 1908. Pedro de Alcântara was the eldest son of Empress Isabel I of Brazil (1846–1921) who, as eldest daughter of Pedro II and presumptive heir when he was dethroned, became the last undisputed head of the family after her father's death in exile in 1891. Pedro Carlos, Prince of Brazil is the eldest son of Pedro Gastão, Prince of Brazil. Bertrand, Prince of Brazil is descended from Isabel 's youngest son, Luís, Prince Imperial of Brazil (1878–1920) who, by a Bourbon princess, fathered Prince Pedro Henrique, Prince of Brazil (1909–1981). Bertrand is Pedro Henrique 's son by a Bavarian princess and maintains his dynastic claim to the same legacy. Following the tradition of the Portuguese monarchy abolished in 1910, they are considered members of the Brazilian imperial family.[1]


Founded by Pedro de Bragança, until then Prince Royal of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves, member of the House of Bragança, heir apparent to the Portuguese throne and representative of the King in the Kingdom of Brazil as Prince Regent, the Imperial House of Brazil was sovereign from September 7, 1822 to November 1889, when a military coup d'état overthrew the monarchy.

Prince Pedro, then, was acclaimed Emperor of Brazil by the whole country. The 1824 constitution of the Empire of Brazil – the first Brazilian constitutional charter – was organized two years after independence, with the emperor being head of state and head of government of the Empire of Brazil, as well as head of the moderating power and executive power. He reigned until 7 April 1831, when he abdicated due to a long ideological conflict between a sizable parliamentary faction over the monarch's role in government and other obstacles. Pedro I's successor in Brazil was his five-year-old son, Pedro II. As the latter was still a minor, a weak regency was created. The power vacuum resulting from the absence of a ruling monarch as the final arbiter in political disputes led to regional civil wars between local factions. Having inherited an empire on the verge of disintegration, Pedro II, once declared of age, managed to bring peace and stability to the country, which eventually became an emerging international power. Although the last four decades of Pedro II's reign were marked by continued internal peace and economic prosperity, he did not expect to see the monarchy survive beyond his lifetime and made no effort to maintain support for the institution. Next in line to the throne was his daughter Isabel, but neither Pedro II nor the ruling classes considered a female monarch acceptable. Lacking a viable heir, the Empire's political leaders saw no reason to defend the monarchy. After a reign of 58 years, on November 15, 1889, the emperor was overthrown in a sudden coup d'état led by a clique of military leaders whose objective was the formation of a republic headed by a dictator, forming the First Brazilian Republic.


With the proclamation of the Brazilian republic on November 15, 1889, the imperial family went into exile in Portugal, Spain, France and Austria-Hungary. The entourage that accompanied the imperial family included many loyal and noble subjects, such as politicians such as the Viscount of Ouro Preto, the deposed last Prime Minister of the Empire, as well as the Emperor's private physician. Prince Augusto Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, grandson of Emperor Pedro II, was the only member of the imperial family who did not go into exile because he was aboard the cruiser Almirante Barroso, on a circumnavigation trip. Subsequently, upon receiving news of the deposition of the monarchy, he was sent into exile. In addition to the ban, the republican government confiscated and auctioned off many of the imperial family's assets. In 1890, thirteen auctions of assets of the Imperial House were held. Empress Teresa Cristina died in the first months of exile. Later, Emperor Peter II died in France, where he received the funeral of a head of state of the French government. The imperial family settled in the Château d'Eu, former residence of King Luís Filipe of France and property of Gastão de Orléans, Count d'Eu, husband of Isabel, Imperial Princess of Brazil, heiress of Pedro II and de jure Empress in Exile of Brazil.

Despite the prohibition then in force, Prince Luiz of Orléans-Braganza tried to land in Rio de Janeiro in 1906, but was prevented by the local authorities. Finally, President Epitácio Pessoa, by presidential decree of September 3, 1920, revoked the Banning Law. The Imperial Family was then able to return to Brazilian soil. The occasion served to repatriate the mortal remains of the last emperor and his consort, which would be transferred from Portugal a year later. Of the nine members of the imperial family originally exiled, only two returned to Brazil alive: Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará and his father, Prince Gastão, Conde d'Eu, who died the following year on board the ship Massilia, on his way to Brazil to celebrate the centenary of independence. Prince Pedro de Alcântara acquired one of his old palaces, the Palácio do Grão-Pará in Petrópolis, where he lived until his death and where his descendants still live. On the other hand, not all the family immediately returned to Brazil, and the Vassouras branch, present claiming the Brazilian throne, could only return after the end of World War II.

Imperial Family Repatriation[edit]

Currently, the remains of five members of the imperial family are buried in the Imperial Mausoleum of Petrópolis: Emperor Pedro II and Empress Teresa Cristina, whose remains were transferred from the Royal Pantheon of the House of Bragança in Lisbon, in 1921, on the occasion of the centenary of the Independence of Brazil, Princess Isabel, removed from the Eu cemetery in 1953 with her husband, Prince Gaston, and the Prince of Grão-Pará, transferred from the Petrópolis cemetery in 1990 together with his wife. Prince Luiz and Prince Antonio are buried in the Royal Chapel of Dreux, France, where the former's wife, Princess Maria Pia, was buried in 1973.

In 1954, the remains of the first Empress, Maria Leopoldina, were transferred to the Crypt and Imperial Chapel of São Paulo, located in the Convent of Santo Antônio, Rio de Janeiro. Some of the children of both emperors are buried in the Convent of Santo Antônio: Prince Miguel, Prince João Carlos, Princess Paula Mariana, Prince Afonso Pedro and Prince Pedro Afonso, in addition to Princess Luísa Vitória. In 1972, on the occasion of the sesquicentennial of Independence, the remains of Emperor Pedro I were transferred from the Royal Pantheon of the House of Bragança to the Imperial Chapel. The body of his second wife, Empress Amélie, was transferred from the Pantheon of Bragança to the Imperial Chapel in 1982. That same year the body of his daughter, Princess Maria Amélia, was transferred from the Pantheon of Bragança to the Convent of Santo Antônio.

Emperors of Brazil[edit]

Name Became monarch Notes
Pedro I 1822 Emperor of Brazil; Declarator of Independence of Brazil
King of Portugal and the Algarves
Pedro II 1831 Emperor of Brazil; last emperor of Brazil


Coat of arms Title Possession
Head of the Imperial Family 1889-present
Prince Imperial of Brazil 1822–present
Prince of Grão-Pará
Prince of Brazil
Prince of Orléans-Braganza 1909–present

Forms of treatment[edit]

According to the Constitution of 1824, the Imperial Family recognizes the following treatment pronouns:[2]

See also[edit]