Princess Pia Maria of Orléans-Braganza

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Princess Pia Maria
Born(1913-03-04)4 March 1913
Cannes, France
Died24 October 2000(2000-10-24) (aged 87)
Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Full name
Pia Maria Raniera Isabella Antonia Vitoria Thereza Amélia Gerarda Raimunda Anna Micaela Rafaela Gabriela Gonzaga de Orléans e Bragança
FatherPrince Luiz of Orléans-Braganza
MotherPrincess Maria di Grazia of Bourbon-Two Sicilies

Princess Pia Maria of Orléans-Braganza (Portuguese: Princesa Pia Maria Raniera Isabella Antonia Vitoria Thereza Amélia Gerarda Raimunda Anna Micaela Rafaela Gabriela Gonzaga de Orléans e Bragança; 4 March 1913 – 24 October 2000) was a Princess and member of the House of Orléans-Braganza and the Brazilian Imperial Family.


With the premature death of her father, Prince Luís of Orléans-Braganza, in 1920, and the following year, the death of her grandmother, Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil, in 1921, Pia Maria's older brother Prince Pedro Henrique of Orléans-Braganza claimed the title Prince Imperial of Brazil in 1920, and the position of head of the Imperial House of Brazil in 1921. At the time of the latter claim, Prince Pedro Henrique still had no children, so Prince Luiz Gastão of Orléans-Braganza, brother of Pedro Henrique and Pia Maria, claimed the title of Prince Imperial. Prince Luiz Gastão died early ten years later, at the age of twenty, in 1931, giving Pia Maria, for the brief period of seven years, a claim to be Princess Imperial of Brazil and the second in the line of succession to the former Brazilian throne.

This situation changed in 1938, when the first-born of Pedro Henrique, Prince Luiz of Orléans-Braganza was born. Pia Maria returned to using an earlier title of Princess of Brazil, the third in line of succession, a situation that she would retain even through unequal marriage, with the Count of Nicolay. The "provisional" situation of Princess Imperial to which Pia Maria was subjected is similar to that of her great-great-grandmother Princess Januária of Brazil, who was the Princess Imperial from 1835 to 1845, when the firstborn of the Emperor Pedro II was born.

She died at the Chateau de Le Lude on 24 October 2000.

Marriage and issue[edit]

She married in Paris, on 12 August 1948, René Jean Marie Nicholas de Nicolay, Count of Nicolay (1910-1954), son of Aymard Marie Jean de Nicolay, Marquis of Goussainville, and his wife, the Marquise Yvonne Léonie Marie Anne Georgine. They had two children:

  • Louis-Jean de Nicolaÿ, Marquis de Goussainville (born Louis-Jean de Nicolay, Le Mans, France, 18 September 1949). He is senator by Sarthe, department of France. He married in Luxembourg on 23 August 1980 Barbara Marie Anne d'Ursel de Bousies, daughter of Count Michel Alfred Isabelle Marie d'Ursel de Bousies. They had two sons and two daughters:
    • Marie-Adélaïde Jeanne Paule Bénédicte Stéphanie de Nicolaÿ (b. 1982)
    • Marguerite Marie Philippine Roberte Jeanne Paola de Nicolaÿ (b. 1984)
    • Antoine Marie Philippe René Michel Joseph de Nicolaÿ (b. 1988)
    • Arnaud de Nicolaÿ (b. 1991)
  • Robert Maria Pio Benoit de Nicolaÿ (born Robert Marie Pie Benoit de Nicolay, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, February 17, 1952). He held various positions in the government of France, having become Minister of State. He married in Paris on 5 February 1983 Nathalie Laetitia Jeanne Yvonne Marie, Princess of Murat, daughter of Prince Napoléon Joachim Louis Maurice Murat (son of Prince Alexandre Murat and grandson of Joachim, 5th Prince Murat) and Inès d'Albert de Luynes (daughter of Philippe d'Albert, 11th duc de Luynes). They had two sons and three daughters:
    • Irène Marie Pia Inès de Nicolaÿ (1985-2007)
    • Louise Marie Jeanne Yvonne de Nicolaÿ (b. 1987)
    • Elvire Marie Pauline Laure de Nicolaÿ (b. 1988)
    • René de Nicolaÿ (b. 1991)
    • Christian de Nicolaÿ (b. 2002)

Pia Maria preserved for herself the title of Princess of Brazil, even though she contracted an unequal union.


Notes and sources[edit]

Princess Pia Maria of Orléans-Braganza
Cadet branch of the House of Orléans
Born: 4 March 1913 Died: 24 October 2000
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Prince Luiz Gastão
Prince Imperial of Brazil
8 September 1931 – 6 June 1938
Succeeded by
Prince Luiz