Prince Imperial of Brazil

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For the former Portuguese title, see Prince of Brazil
Original coat of arms of the Prince Imperial of Brazil.
Modern coat of arms of the Prince Imperial of Brazil, with an inescutcheon in reference to the Orléans branch.

Prince Imperial of Brazil is the title created after the proclamation of independence of the Empire of Brazil, in 1822, to designate an heir apparent, or an heir or heiress presumptive to the Brazilian imperial throne. Even after the proclamation of the Republic in 1889, the title was kept in use by the Brazilian Imperial Family.

Overview[edit]

According to article 105 of the Constitution of 1824, the title should be used to designate to the first in line to the imperial throne. The Constitution also specifies that the eldest son of the Imperial Prince should be designated the Prince of Grão-Pará, indicating the second in line of succession.[1]

The last Emperor of Brazil, Pedro II, died in 1891, two years after the abolition of the Brazilian monarchy. His daughter, Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil, was the last holder of the title during the existence of the Empire. Since then, the title has been used by the heir to the Head of the Brazilian Imperial House.

All the Brazilian princes (the Imperial Prince, the Prince of Grão-Pará and the other princes) were guaranteed a seat at the Senate after they reached the age of 25. However, for various reasons, including premature death and marriage with foreign dynasts, only D. Isabel actually sat in the Senate, becoming the first Brazilian woman to be a senator.

Finally, according to the Constitution and some later rules created by the Brazilian Imperial House, the princes in the line of succession must marry with members of other dynastic houses in order to keep the égalite de naissance to maintain their imperial titles. A princess who marries the head of another dynastic house would not transmit her Brazilian titles to their offspring, and the princes could not assume a foreign throne and keep their Brazilian titles. These restriction are aligned to Portuguese and French royal traditions, although the Brazilian rules of succession are not directed by Salic Law.

Princes Imperial of Brazil[edit]

  1. Maria II of Portugal (1819–1853), who was heiress presumptive from 1822 to 1825, after which she was created Princess of Grão-Pará due to the birth of her brother Pedro. She ascended the Portuguese throne in 1826, as Maria II of Portugal.
  2. Pedro II of Brazil (1825–1891), who was the imperial heir from 1825 until his accession to the Brazilian throne in 1831.
  3. Maria II of Portugal (1819–1853), who was heiress presumptive from 1831 to 1835 until her exclusion from the Brazilian line of succession by law no. 91 of 30 October 1835.
  4. Januária, Princess Imperial of Brazil (1822–1901), Princess Imperial from 1835 to 1845, until the birth of her nephew Afonso. She married in 1844 Prince Louis of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, count of Aquila.
  5. Afonso, Prince Imperial of Brazil (1845–1847), eldest son of Emperor Pedro II.
  6. Pedro, Prince Imperial of Brazil (1848–1850), the other, and then only surviving, son of Pedro II.
  7. Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil (1846–1921), Princess Imperial from the death of her elder brother Afonso in 1847 until the birth of her younger brother Pedro in 1848, and from Pedro's death in 1850 onwards. She married in 1864 Prince Gaston d'Orléans, comte d'Eu.

Claimants[edit]

Isabel, the last Princess Imperial, never ascended the throne because it was overthrown by coup d'état in 1889. After the 1891 death of her father, the last Brazilian emperor de facto, she became the Head of the Imperial House of Brazil, and gave the title of Prince Imperial to her eldest son, Prince Pedro de Alcântara of Orléans-Braganza. The title was not recognized by the Brazilian government, which had adopted a republican constitution.

  1. Prince Pedro de Alcântara of Orléans-Braganza (1875–1940), who was styled Prince of Grão-Pará from 1875 to 1891, adopted the style of Prince Imperial on the death of his grandfather Pedro II. On the insistence of his mother, Pedro de Alcântara renounced his Brazilian titles in 1908 to marry a non-royal, Countess Elisabeth Dobržensky de Dobrženicz. The title of Prince Imperial and his place in the line of succession were transferred to his brother Prince Luis.
  2. Prince Luiz of Orléans-Braganza (1878–1920), was styled Prince Imperial from 1908, after his brother's renunciation. Prince Luiz and his brother Antônio Gastão, both died before their mother. As Pedro had renounced his rights of succession for himself and his descendants, the title of Prince Imperial was bestowed on Luiz' eldest son, Pedro Henrique.
  3. Prince Pedro Henrique of Orléans-Braganza (1909–1981), claimant of the title Prince of Grão-Pará from 1909 to 1920, seeing that his uncle, the former Prince of Grão-Pará and Prince Imperial, renounced his Brazilian titles in 1908. Claimed the title Prince Imperial from the death of his father in 1920 until the death of his grandmother in 1921.

Pedro de Alcântara died in 1940, the last member of the Brazilian Imperial House who had lived at the time of the Empire. His son, Prince Pedro Gastão, challenged Pedro Henrique's right to the succession in 1946,[2] on the basis that his father's renunciation had no legal force. As a result, the Brazilian imperial family were split between a branch living at Petrópolis, led by Pedro Gastão and descended from Pedro de Alcântara, and another at Vassouras, led by Pedro Henrique and descended from Luiz.

Claimants descended from Prince Luiz
  1. Prince Luiz Gastão of Orléans-Braganza (1911–1931), younger brother of Pedro Henrique, claimant of the title of Prince Imperial from the death of his grandmother in 1921 until his own death in 1931.
  2. Princess Pia Maria of Orléans-Braganza (1913–2000), younger sister of Pedro Henrique, claimant of the title of Princess Imperial from the death of her brother Luiz Gastão in 1931 until the birth of her nephew Luiz in 1938.
  3. Prince Luiz of Orléans-Braganza (born 1938), claimant of the title Prince Imperial from 1938 to 1981, until succeeding his father Prince Pedro Henrique as Head of the Vassouras branch of the Brazilian Imperial House.
  4. Prince Bertrand of Orléans-Braganza (born 1941), Prince Luiz' younger brother and current claimant of the title since 1981.
Claimants descended from Prince Pedro de Alcântara
  1. Prince Pedro Carlos of Orléans-Braganza (born 1945), son of Prince Pedro Gastão, claimant of the title until succeeding his father as Head of the Petrópolis branch of the imperial house in 2007.
  2. Prince Pedro Thiago of Orléans-Braganza (born 1979), son of Prince Pedro Carlos and claimant of the title Prince of Grão-Pará until 2007, and currently of that of the title Prince Imperial.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Constituicão Politica do Imperio do Brazil (de 25 de Março de 1824)" (in Portuguese). Government of Brazil. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh, ed. (1977). Burke's Royal Families of the World, Volume 1: Europe & Latin America. London: Burke's Peerage. p. 43. ISBN 0-85011-023-8.