Wednesday, May 13, 2020

A silver wedding for the Duke and Duchess of Braganza

Embed from Getty Images 

 In January 1995,  HRH Dom Duarte,  Duke of Braganza, was interviewed by Reuters about the possible restoration of Portugal's monarchy.   He said: "the king is the human face of a country.  He added that Portugal's monarchist party is small, but it did win a handful of seats in Parliament in the early 1980s.   Opinion polls at the time showed 47% of the Portuguese favored restoration.

Dom Duarte, then 49 years old,  said: "I think that in a referendum the monarchy would win."   There were reservations, however, about the Duke as king due to his desire to declare war on Indonesia.  "We should consider ourselves in a state of war with Indonesia," he declared. Why.  In 1975, Indonesia had invaded East Timor, a Portuguese colony, in the Banda and Timor Seas.

[Indonesia relinquished control of East Timor in 1999.  Soon afterward East Timor, with the support of the United Nations, became an independent nation.]

The Duke believed that a King could achieve "political harmony" in the country.   "Very often the president and prime minister are fighting each other because they belong to different political tendencies. "

The Reuters reporter, David Brow noted that presidential successors are elected but "kings need to produce their own successors, a problem that worries even the most ardent monarchists in Portugal."

At the time, neither Dom Duarte nor his younger brother, Dom Miguel, second in line to the throne, were married.   Dom Duarte was asked if he had any plans to marry.  "I hope so.  But two people at the same time have to have the same idea."

He pointed out that his grandfather and great-grandfather were nearing 50 when they married.

"I have reached the critical age for marriage in my family."

It seems that the Duke of Braganza was keeping a secret as less than two months after this interview, he announced his engagement to 28-year-old, Isabel Inês Castro Curvello de Herédia, a Portuguese businesswoman   The engagement was announced in March 1995.

The wedding took place on May 13, 11995, two days after Dom Duarte celebrated his 50th birthday, at the 16th century Jeronimos Monastery in Lison.
This was the first royal wedding in Portugal since  1886 when the future King Carlos I wed Princess Amelie of Orléans.

The crowds outside the cathedral shouted "Long Live the King," but the newlyweds refused to kiss in front of the crowd.  More than 1500 guests, including members of most of Europe's royal families,.  Portugal's  President Mario Soares and Prime Minister Anibal Cavaco Silva and other government officials also attended the ceremony.

Soares said:  "This isn't a celebration of the monarchy.  I have come to the party of someone very  pleasant -- Dom Duarte."

The royal guests included Prince Pedro of Orleans-Braganza, the Countess of Paris, Princess Theresa of Orleans-Braganza, Queen Giovanna of Bulgaria and her daughter-in-law, Queen Margarita of Bulgaria, Archduke Otto of Austria,  Hereditary Grand Duke Henri and Hereditary Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg,  Prince Philippe of Belgium,  Infanta Margarita of Spain and her husband, Dr. Carlos Zurita, the Duchess of Württemberg,  Princess Chantal of France and her husband,  Baron Francois de Sambcy, the Princess of Thurn und Taxis and her three children, Archduke Karl and Archduchess Francesca of Austria, Prince Konstantin and Princess Maria of Bulgaria, and Prince Victor Emanuel and Princess Marina of Italy

The bride wore a "full-skirted embroidered gown and a diamond tiara with a flowing tulle veil."  The tiara was first worn by Queen Amelie as she had received it as a wedding gift from her father-in-law, King Luis  I.   On February 1, 1908,  on the way to the Necessidades Palace in Lisbon,  King Luis and his elder son, Crown Prince Luis Filipe, were shot and killed as they rode in an open carriage.  Queen Amelie was unhurt and she managed to use her bouquet of flowers to protect their younger son, Manoel, who succeeded as King Manoel II.   Two years,  a military coup ousted the king, and Manoel and his mother went into exile.

Manoel died in Twickenham, England, in 1932.  His marriage in 1913 to Princess Augusta Victoria of Hohenzollern was childless.  Dom Duarte's father, Dom Duarte Nino, succeeded as a claimant to Portugal's throne.  He was the son of Miguel, Duke of Braganza, and his second wife, Princess Maria Theresa of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg.   The Duke of Braganza was the son of King Miguel I of Portugal, who served as king from 1828-1834, ostensibly, first as regent for his niece, then a minor, and then as a usurper.  After a three year civil war,  Miguel was forced to abdicate.  The Portuguese Parliament passed a law that banished Miguel and his descendants from returning to Portugal.  But with the death of a childless King Manoel II, the Miguelist line moved to the fore with King Manoel and the Miguelists coming to an agreement regarding the succession.   The Law of Banishment was repealed in 1950.

Dom Duarte Nuno, Duke of Braganza, and his wife moved to Portugal.  In 1942, he married Dona Maria Francisca of Orléans-Braganza,  a great-granddaughter of Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil, brother of Queen Maria II.

Dom Duarte Pio, the present Duke of Braganza, was born May 11, 1945, the first of three sons.  Neither of his brothers has married.

Dom Duarte inherited the tiara from Queen Amelie, one of his godparents, who died in 1951

After the wedding reception, the couple left for their honeymoon in Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony.

Obviously aware of the need for an heir, the Duke said:  "The problem with the succession will now be resolved in nine months." 

The couple's first child,  Dom Afonso de Santa Maria, Prince of Beira was born on March 25, 1996,  ten months after the wedding.  He has two younger siblings, Infanta Maria Francisca (1997) and Infante Dom Dinis (1999).

Unfortunately, Getty does not have photographs from the wedding that I can use.

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