Thursday, April 21, 2011

The only foreign prince fighting for the British

April 21, 1917

Prince Antonio of Orléans-Braganca, youngest son of Princess Isabel of Brazil and and Prince Gaston of France, Count d'Eu, "can boast of being the only prince of any foreign royal house to be serving at the front" in the British army in the present war, writes the Marquise de Fontenoy.

Not long after the outbreak of the war in August 1914, he resigned his commission in the Austrian Hussars, and after "some delay managed to secure a lieutenancy in the Canadian contingent of the British Army."   With his "gallant service at the front against the Germans," Prince Antonio has recently been promoted to captain, and has been appointed Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig's personal staff.

Prince Antonio was born on August 9, 1881 in Paris.  At the time of his birth, his maternal grandfather, Pedro, was the reigning Emperor of Brazil.  According to the then constitution, "it was necessary that every member of the dynasty in the line to succession" be before on Brazilian soil.     Unfortunately, for the Princess Imperial,  her third son was born two months prematurely, and before she could sail from France back to her home in Brazil.

Thus, when the Princess went into premature labor, she was rushed from her hotel by ambulance to the Brazilian embassy, where she gave birth to Prince Antonio two hours later.  The Brazilian embassy " was figuratively and officially regarded as Brazilian territory."

Prince Antonio received his military training in Austria.  He has two older brothers,  Prince Pedro, who renounced his rights in favor of his brother, Luiz, after marrying a Czech countess, and Luiz, who made an equal marriage with Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.

 Prince Antonio Gastão Luís Filipe Francisco de Assis Maria Miguel Rafael Gabriel Gonzaga is unmarried.

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