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Maria II (1819–1853)

Maria II (1819–1853)

Maria II (b. 4 April 1819; d. 15 November 1853), queen of Portugal (1834–1853). Maria da Glória was born in the Palace of São Cristóvão in Rio de Janeiro, the oldest child of Crown Prince Pedro and his wife, Archduchess Leopoldina, daughter of the emperor of Austria, Francis I. When Maria was three years old, her father became Pedro I, emperor of Brazil. When Pedro's father, King João VI, died in Portugal on 10 March 1826, Pedro I of Brazil was acclaimed Pedro IV of Portugal. Shortly after receiving this news, Pedro, while still in Brazil, drew up a constitutional charter for Portugal and promised to abdicate the Portuguese throne in favor of Maria da Glória, who was then seven years old, on the conditions that Maria marry her father's younger brother, Prince Miguel, an exile in Vienna, and that Miguel accept the new constitution. In the meantime, Pedro's younger sister, Isabel Maria, would continue to serve as regent of Portugal. Miguel pledged to marry his niece and observe the new constitution. On 29 October 1826, the betrothal took place in Vienna by proxy.

On 5 July 1828, Maria departed from Rio de Janeiro for Vienna in the charge of Brazilian-born Felisberto Caldeira Brant Pontes, first marquis of Barbacena, to complete her education under the watchful eye of her maternal grandfather. However, after arriving at Gibraltar on 2 September 1828, Maria discovered that her husband-to-be Prince Miguel, had returned to Portugal from exile and had been acclaimed king of Portugal by an absolutist-controlled traditional Portuguese côrtes of the three estates. Sailing on to England and later to France, Maria met resistance to her claim to the throne by governments of George IV of England and Charles X of France, who were wary of the constitutional liberalism inherent in Pedro's charter of 1826. Therefore, Maria da Glória, along with the marquis of Barbacena and her father's wife-to-be, Amé lia, returned to Brazil, arriving in Rio de Janeiro on 16 October 1829.

On 7 April 1831, Pedro I abdicated the Brazilian throne in favor of Maria's brother, his five-year-old son Pedro, and, along with the Empress Amélia, sailed for Europe in the English corvette Volage while Maria traveled on the French brig La Seine. On 18 September 1834, after years of bitter civil war, fifteen-year-old Maria da Glória was acclaimed Maria II, queen of Portugal, by the newly elected Portuguese côrtes. On 28 January 1835, she married Prince Auguste Beauharnais, duke of Leuchtenberg (brother of her father's second wife, Empress Amélia), who died two months later. On 9 April 1836, Queen Maria II married Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, who in 1837 assumed the title of King Ferdinand II of Portugal. Two of their sons were also kings of Portugal: Pedro V (reigned 1853–1861) and Luis I (reigned 1861–1889). After a troubled reign, Maria II died in Lisbon while giving birth to her eleventh child.

See alsoPedro I of Brazil .


Neill Macaulay, Dom Pedro: The Struggle for Liberty in Brazil and Portugal, 1798–1834 (1986).

Afonso Eduard Martins Zuquete, ed., Nobreza de Portugal e do Brasil, vol. 2 (1960), pp. 51-78.

Julio De Sousa E Costa, D. Maria II (1947).

Ester De Lemos, D. Maria II (A Rainha e a Mulher) (1954).

Additional Bibliography

Bonifácio, Maria de Fátima. D. Maria II. Lisbon: Círculo de Leitores: Centro de Estudos dos Povos e Culturas de Expressão Portuguesa, 2005.

                                      Francis A. Dutra

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