Pedro Gastão of Orléans-Braganza

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Prince Pedro Gastão
Head of the Imperial House of Brazil (disputed)
Reign29 January 1940 – 27 December 2007
SuccessorPrince Pedro Carlos
Born19 February 1913
Eu, Seine-Maritime, France
Died27 December 2007(2007-12-27) (aged 94)
Villamanrique de la Condesa, Seville, Spain
Princess Maria de la Esperanza of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
(m. 1944; died 2005)
IssuePrince Pedro Carlos
Princess Maria da Glória
Prince Afonso
Prince Manuel
Princess Cristina
Prince Francisco
Pedro de Alcântara Gastão João Maria Filipe Lourenço Humberto Miguel Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga de Orléans e Bragança
FatherPedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará
MotherCountess Elisabeth Dobrzensky of Dobrzenicz

Pedro Gastão of Orléans-Braganza (19 February 1913 – 27 December 2007)[1] was the Head of the Petrópolis branch of the House of Orléans-Braganza and a claimant to the defunct Brazilian throne in opposition to the Vassouras branch claim led by his cousins Princes Pedro Henrique and Luiz.[2]

Pedro Gastão was born during the exile of the Brazilian Imperial Family, being the second child and first son of Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará, sometime heir to the throne of the Empire of Brazil, and Countess Elisabeth Dobrzensky of Dobrzenicz. Never having accepted his father's 1908 renunciation as valid, he actively claimed the Brazilian throne from his father's death in 1940 until his own in 2007.

Pedro Gastão was also uncle to the pretenders to the thrones of Portugal (Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza) and France (Henri, Count of Paris) and grandfather to the heir apparent to the defunct Yugoslav throne (Philip, Hereditary Prince of Yugoslavia).

Early life[edit]

Prince Pedro Gastão with his grandfather Gaston, Count of Eu, 1915.

Pedro Gastão, whose name was after his father and grandfather, was born on 19 February 1913 in France in the Château d'Eu, at the homonymous town of Eu, Seine-Maritime, where the Brazilian Imperial Family was installed since 1905. His father, Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará, was the older son of Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil, and had been expected from birth to eventually inherit the Imperial Throne of Brazil naturally. His mother, Countess Elisabeth Dobrzensky of Dobrzenicz, was a member of an old Bohemian noble family. He was brother to Isabelle, Countess of Paris, Maria Francisca, Duchess of Braganza, Prince João Maria and Princess Teresa Teodora.

Pedro Gastão spent his youth in Europe, largely at his family's Parisian home in the Boulogne sur Seine suburb: "I have very good memories of my grandparents [...] In exile in France I was always brought up thinking of Brazil not France or Portugal."[3] In 1922 he saw Brazil for the first time, two years after the repeal of the Banishment Law against the Imperial Family. The family was repatriated and settled at the Imperial Palace of Grão-Pará, at the town of Petrópolis, where Pedro Gastão attended the Notre Dame de Sion school which rented his father's Palace of Petrópolis.


When Pedro Gastão was born, it had been five years since his father had signed the instrument of resignation, by which he theoretically would have renounced the rights of succession to the throne of Brazil for himself and his offspring. The document was accepted by the Princess Imperial and by most royalists.

A few years before his death Pedro Gastão's father Prince Pedro de Alcântara told a Brazilian newspaper:

"My renunciation was not valid for many reasons: besides, it was not a hereditary renunciation."[4]

Following the death of his father, and supported by Infante Alfonso, Duke of Calabria and Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona, Prince Pedro Gastão declared himself Head of the Imperial Family of Brazil.[4] His position was supported by Francisco Morato, law professor at the University of São Paulo, who concluded the resignation of Pedro Gastão's father was not a valid legal or monarchical act.[4] Professor Paulo Napoleão Nogueira da Silva in the 1990s published a report saying that the resignation of his father was invalid under all possible aspects of Brazilian Law.[4]

He represented a rival claim to that of his cousin's son, Prince Luiz of Orléans-Braganza, to be the heir of the deposed Emperor Pedro II of Brazil, despite the renunciation signed by his father in 1908 when he married, without dynastic approval, a Bohemian noblewoman.[5]

Pedro Gastão died aged 94 on 27 December 2007.

His dynastic claim to the head of the imperial house is currently assumed by his male grandson Pedro Tiago de Orléans e Bragança (born 12 January 1979).[6]

Marriage and children[edit]

Pedro Gastão at the exhibition of the coffin with the remains of Pedro I in the Palace of São Cristóvão in Rio de Janeiro, 1972

He married Princess Maria de la Esperanza of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (1914–2005), a daughter of Prince Carlos of the Two Sicilies, Infante of Spain and Princess Louise of Orléans a maternal aunt of Juan Carlos I King of Spain, on 18 December 1944 in Seville, Spain, and had six children:[7]

  • Pedro Carlos of Orléans-Braganza (born 31 October 1945), married Rony Kuhn de Souza (20 March 1938 – 14 January 1979) on 2 September 1975, with issue. He remarried Patricia Branscombe (22 November 1962 – 21 November 2009) on 16 July 1981, with issue. He married Patrícia Alvim Rodrigues, civilly, in 2018 and, religiously, on 9 October 2021.
    • Pedro Tiago de Orléans e Bragança (born 12 January 1979)
    • Felipe de Orléans e Bragança (born 31 December 1982)
  • Maria da Gloria of Orléans-Braganza (born 13 December 1946), married Alexander, Crown Prince of Serbia and Yugoslavia on 1 July 1972, divorced in 1985, with issue. She remarried Ignacio de Medina y Fernández de Córdoba, 19th Duke of Segorbe on 24 October 1985, with issue:
  • Prince Alfonso of Orléans-Braganza (born 25 April 1948), married Maria Juana Parejo y Gurruchaga (born 1954) on 3 January 1973, divorced with issue. He remarried Sylvia Amelia Senna de Hungria Machado on 19 November 2002.
    • Princess Maria de Orléans-Bragança (born 1974), married Walter Santiago Estellano, has a son.
    • Princess Julia de Orléans-Bragança (born 1977)
  • Prince Manuel of Orléans-Braganza (born 17 June 1949), married Margarita Haffner y Lancha (born 10 December 1945) on 12 December 1977, divorced in 1995, with issue. He remarried Elisa Ariza y Riobóo in 1995.
    • Princess Luiza de Orléans-Bragança (born 1978)
    • Prince Manuel de Orléans-Bragança (born 1981), married Cássia Letícia Ferreira Kerpel.
  • Princess Cristina of Orléans-Braganza (born 16 October 1950), married Prince Jan Paweł Sapieha-Rozanski (26 August 1935 – 6 August 2021) on 16 May 1980, sometime Belgian ambassador to Brazil[8] divorced in 1988, with issue. She remarried José Carlos Calmon de Brito in October 1992, divorced in 1997.
    • Princess Anna Teresa Sapieha-Rozanski (born 1981), married Benjamin Furlong, has a son.
    • Princess Paola Sapieha-Rozanski (born 1983), married in 2012 Prince Constantin Nicolas Swiatopolk-Czetwertyński (born 1978)[8]
  • Prince Francisco of Orléans-Braganza (born 9 December 1956), married Christina Schmidt-Peçanha (born 14 January 1953) on 28 January 1978, divorced, with issue. He remarried Rita de Cássia Pires in 1980, with issue:
    • Prince Francisco de Orléans-Bragança (born 1979), married Mathieu Nyssens on 11 January 2023.[9]
    • Prince Gabriel de Orléans-Bragança (born 1989)
    • Princess Manuela de Orléans-Bragança (born 1997)

Later years[edit]


The prince ran the Companhia Imobiliária de Petrópolis (Petrópolis Imobiliary Company), that collected the laudemium fee, until the end of the 20th century. Still in the mountain town of Petrópolis, in the 1950s, he acquired the newspaper Tribuna de Petrópolis [pt], founded in 1902, and currently managed by his son, Prince Francisco. In 1954 he came to an agreement with his siblings for the definitive sale of the Château d'Eu to the Prefecture of Eu.[10][11]

1993 Brazilian constitutional referendum[edit]

In the early 1990s, during the referendum in which the Brazilian people should opt for the monarchy or the republic, Pedro Gastão was one of the most engaged in the campaign for the monarchy. But with the defeat of the cause, in advanced age, the prince eventually left the country and disallowed the initiative of some of his supporters to found a monarchist party in Brazil. He retired to his wife's property in Villamanrique-de-la-Condessa, near Seville, Spain.[12]


The couple's last years of life were spent at the princess's estate, where both passed away. Princess Maria de la Esperanza died before him, in 2005, leaving him only with his caretakers and being constantly visited by two of his children who lived in Seville. Prince Pedro Gastão died in the early hours of 27 December 2007, at the age of 94, and was buried the following day, in the chapel of Villamanrique de la Condesa. He received a State funeral with the presence of the Spanish monarchs.[13]



  1. ^ Morre na Espanha dom Pedro Gastão de Orléans e Bragança
  2. ^ Handler, Bruce (5 March 1989). "Brazil to Decide on Return of Monarchy". Los Angeles Times: 34.
  3. ^ Bailey, Anthony (January 1998). "Dom Pedro and the lost empire". Royalty: 54–59.
  4. ^ a b c d Bodstein, Astrid (2006). "The Imperial Family of Brazil". Royalty Digest Quarterly (3). Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2007.
  5. ^ "The Amazon Throne". Archived from the original on 8 October 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2007.
  6. ^ "Home". Casa Imperial do Brasil (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 2 November 2022.
  7. ^ Willis, Daniel A., ‘’The Descendants of King George I of Great Britain’’, Clearfield Company, 2002, pp. 141-142. ISBN 0-8063-5172-1
  8. ^ a b Menthe, Caterina. 13 February 2013 Love royale. Vogue Arabia
  9. ^ @royaltyandprotocol (23 January 2023). "Imperial wedding in Petrópolis (Brazil)" – via Instagram.
  10. ^ Oazinguito Ferreira (18 May 2008). "Jornais do interior em Petrópolis". Petrópolis no Século XX. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Dom Francisco de Orleans e Bragança". Mapa de Cultura do Rio de Janeiro. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  12. ^ "A realeza brasileira ao alcance das mãos - Brasil - Estadão". Estadão (in Portuguese). 9 April 2017. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  13. ^ "Morre aos 94 anos Dom Pedro Gastão de Orleans e Bragança". G1 (in Portuguese). 27 December 2007. Retrieved 28 July 2021.

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