Afonso, Duke of Porto

Infante Afonso
Duke of Porto
Prince Royal of Portugal
Viceroy of the Portuguese State of India
Predecessor Rafael Jácome de Andrade
Successor João António das Neves Ferreira
Born (1865-07-31)31 July 1865
Ajuda Royal Palace, Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 21 February 1920(1920-02-21) (aged 54)
Naples, Italy
Burial Royal Pantheon of the House of Braganza
Spouse Nevada Stoody Hayes
Full name
Afonso Henrique Maria Luís Pedro de Alcântara Carlos Humberto Amadeu Fernando António Miguel Rafael Gabriel Gonzaga Xavier Francisco de Assis João Augusto Júlio Volfando Inácio[1]
House House of Braganza[2]
Father Luis I of Portugal
Mother Maria Pia of Savoy
Religion Roman Catholicism

Infante D. Afonso, Duke of Porto (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈfõsu]; 31 July 1865 in Palace of Ajuda, Lisbon 21 February 1920 in Naples, Italy) was a Portuguese Infante of the House of Braganza,[2] the son of King Dom Luis I of Portugal and his wife, Dona Maria Pia of Savoy.

Early life

Dom Afonso had a military career. In fact, he was a general of some considerable competence in the Portuguese Army, where, previously, he had been the inspector-general of artillery. His exemplary military background allowed him to be chosen to command military forces at Goa, at the end of the nineteenth century, when he was, concurrently, Viceroy of India. His performance in India motivated his nomination to be Constable of Portugal. In the early months of 1890, his engagement to Archduchess Marie Valerie of Austria was publicised, but later she refused to marry him, under the influence of her aunt by marriage, Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria, of the Miguelist branch of the Braganza Dynasty.

When threats on the life of his brother, Carlos, became known to him, he adopted the habit of arming himself with a revolver, night and day, making himself ready to defend his family whenever it might be necessary. He urged his nephew, the Prince Royal, Luís Filipe, to carry a weapon as well.

Dom Afonso was a lady's man, known for his kindness, simplicity, and bon-vivant lifestyle. For instance, he liked to act as a fireman with the Ajuda Fire Corps near the Palace of Ajuda, which he patronized as honorary commander-in-chief. He lived at the Palace of Ajuda with the Queen Mother, Maria Pia of Savoy, after King Luis's death. (His brother, the king, Carlos, and, later, his nephew, the king, Manuel II, both lived at the Palace of Necessidades during their reigns.)

Dom Afonso at the steerwheel (late 1900s).

Dom Afonso was also a lover of automobile races, and he was responsible for the first motor races in Portugal, where he was one of the first drivers. After the proclamation of the Portuguese First Republic in 1910, Afonso went into exile abroad, first at Gibraltar with his nephew, the deposed king, Manuel II, and afterwards to Italy with his mother, Queen Maria Pia. He lived with her at Turin, and, after her death, he moved to Rome, and, finally, to Naples.


Suffering, like his mother, the dowager Queen Maria Pia of Savoy, from debilitating mental and emotional health after the ferocious 1908 attack on their family, Afonso de Bragança married, in Rome on 26 September 1917, a twice-divorced, and once-widowed, American heiress Nevada Stoody Hayes.

This was a politically significant event, at least to those Portuguese royalists who clung to the hope of a restoration of the House of Braganza: as significant funding for any power grab was urgently needed.

As of 1917, the Portuguese pretender, Manuel II, was living in England with his wife of four years, the Princess Augusta Victoria of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, but they had no children. The royalists were apprehensive about the prospects for a legitimate Braganza heir, and their anxiety redoubled at the news of Afonso's marriage to a commoner, especially one of such a dubious reputation.

In Portugal, morganatic marriage was not recognized. Any legitimate child of Afonso and Nevada could become the lawful heir to the Portuguese throne. Nearly as disturbing was the prospect that both Manuel and Afonso would fail to produce an heir. In this event, the claimant to the Portuguese throne would be a descendent of Miguel I, the absolutist king who, in 1834, lost the Portuguese War of the Two Brothers to the liberal line of constitutional monarchs.

Dom Afonso was the fourth husband of Nevada Stoody Hayes. They were unable to marry religiously in Italy, where the king of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III, like the Pope, chose not to recognize the validity of a previous trial marriage in Rome. She convinced Afonso to marry her again at a Madrid hotel, where a consular officer of the Portuguese Republic performed the civil ceremony, with no family or friends as witnesses. Some believe that the Portuguese consul in Madrid was as cooperative as he was because the Republican government in power at Lisbon was delighted to see one of the last of the Braganzas do such an unpopular thing. A religious marriage ceremony was performed in Madrid on 23 November 1917.[1]

The Prince had previously tried to get the king's approval for his marriage, but he found that his nephew and the rest of the royal family were vehemently opposed to it. After his marriage, his pension was cut by Manuel II, and Dom Afonso, also rejected by his relatives in the Italian royal family, began to live in obscurity and sickness during his final days. He finally died alone, in Naples, on 21 February 1920. Only one Portuguese servant remained with him until the end.

Even though the terms of a morganatic marriage exclude the surviving spouse from inheriting any of the titles or privileges that are the prerogatives of royalty, they do not exclude the survivor from inheriting property. In his will, Dom Afonso left his entire estate to Nevada Stoody Hayes.

After he and Manuel II had both died (1932), his widow demanded that the Portuguese government recognize her rights to a substantial part of the House of Braganza's patrimony. Her husband had named her his sole legal heir in his last will. As the marriage, and the will, was legally disputed in Lisbon, Nevada was briefly arrested shortly after she arrived at Lisbon to claim her inheritance. Eventually, however, she proved a substantial portion of her claim, and she was officially granted the right to remove many objects of art and expensive goods from the Portuguese royal palaces.

The 35-year-old former Duchess of Porto traveled to Portugal from Italy with the body of her late husband, and she arranged for its installation in the Braganza pantheon in the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora in Lisbon.

Name, titles, and honors

Parade during D. Afonso's Prince Royal swearing-in.

His full name was Dom Afonso Henrique Maria Luís Pedro de Alcântara Carlos Humberto Amadeu Fernando António Miguel Rafael Gabriel Gonzaga Xavier Francisco de Assis João Augusto Júlio Volfando Inácio de Saxe-Coburgo-Gotha e Bragança.

Insofar as titles are concerned, Afonso was, first and foremost, Infante of Portugal. The Infante Afonso was born during the reign of his father, Luís I, and, at birth, he was granted the title, Duke of Porto. He became Prince Royal of Portugal under unfortunate circumstances. His brother, Carlos I, and his nephew, were assassinated in 1908, whereupon Manuel II became king and Afonso was acknowledged as the heir to the throne, a position that takes the title, Prince Royal.

Before becoming Prince Royal, Afonso fulfilled the charges of 51st Viceroy of Portuguese India and 24th Constable of Portugal. He was the 109th and last Governor of Portuguese India to receive the title of viceroy, which is reserved, as a high personal reward for service to Portugal, to aristocracy of the highest standing and royalty only.

He was also Knight Grand Cross of the Portuguese Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa and the Spanish Order of Charles III. He was Knight of the Portuguese Orders of Christ and Aviz, the Italian Order of the Most Holy Annunciation, the Spanish Order of the Golden Fleece, the Swedish Order of the Seraphim, the Prussian Order of the Black Eagle, and the Saxon Order of the Rue Crown.[3]


See also


  1. 1 2 Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh (ed.) Burke's Royal Families of the World (1977), volume 1, page 449
  2. 1 2 "While remaining patrilineal dynasts of the duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha according to pp. 88, 116 of the 1944 Almanach de Gotha, Title 1, Chapter 1, Article 5 of the 1838 Portuguese constitution declared, with respect to Ferdinand II of Portugal's issue by his first wife, that 'the Most Serene House of Braganza is the reigning house of Portugal and continues through the Person of the Lady Queen Maria II'. Thus their mutual descendants constitute the Coburg line of the House of Braganza"
  3. Marquis of Ruvigny, The Titled Nobility of Europe (Harrison and Sons, London, 1914) page 120
Afonso, Duke of Porto
Born: 31 July 1865 Died: 21 February 1920
Portuguese royalty
Preceded by
Prince Luís Filipe
Heir to the Portuguese throne
as heir presumptive

Monarchy abolished
Prince Royal of Portugal
Title abolished
Title last held by
King Luís I
Duke of Porto
Title next held by
Infante Dom Dinis
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