House of Orléans-Braganza

House of Orléans-Braganza
Casa de Orleães-Bragança
Country Brazil
Parent house House of Orléans
House of Braganza
Titles Prince of Orléans-Braganza
Founded 1864
Founder Isabel of Braganza, Princess Imperial of Brazil
And Prince Gaston, Count of Eu
Current head Vassouras branch:
Prince Luiz of Orléans-Braganza
Petrópolis branch:
Prince Pedro Carlos of Orléans-Braganza
Brazilian Imperial Family
(Vassouras branch)

Brazilian Imperial Family
(Petrópolis branch)

The House of Orléans-Braganza (Portuguese: Casa de Orleães-Bragança) is a noble house, of French and Portuguese origin. It is a cadet branch of the House of Orléans, and descended from the House of Braganza. The house was founded with the marriage between Isabel of Braganza, Princess Imperial of Brazil, and Prince Gaston of Orléans, Count of Eu. The house was never a reigning house, as Brazil's pure Braganza monarch, Pedro II, was deposed in 1889. The House's members are the current claimants to the Brazilian throne.


On 1864, the Emperor Pedro II of Brazil was looking for a match to his daughters. The Emperor's sister, Princess of Joinville suggested her nephews, Prince Gaston, Count of Eu, and Prince Ludwig August of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, both grandsons of King Louis Philippe of France, as suitable choices for the imperial princesses. The two young men travelled to Brazil in August 1864 so that the prospective brides and grooms could meet before a final agreement to the marriage. Isabel and Leopoldina were not informed until Gaston and August were mid-Atlantic. Arriving in early September, Gaston described the princesses as "ugly", but thought Isabel less so than her sister. For her part, Isabel in her own words "began to feel a great and tender love" for Gaston.[65] Gaston and Isabel, and August and Leopoldina, were engaged on 18 September. On 15 October 1864 at Rio de Janeiro, Prince Gaston married Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil and heiress of the Empire.

It was from that marriage the royal house of Orléans-Braganza was formed. The couple had 3 surviving sons which were the first to use the surname Orléans-Braganza: Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará, Prince Luís and Prince Antônio. Both Prince Pedro and Prince Luís have children.

Today they are the present claimants to the throne of the former Empire of Brazil, which became extinct with the Brazilian proclamation of the republic, on 15 November 1889 after a military coup d'état headed by Marshall Deodoro da Fonseca, the 1st President of Brazil. After the death of Princess Isabel on 1921, the House of Orléans-Braganza became the claimant of the Brazilian throne under Prince Pedro Henrique of Orléans-Braganza.

Renunciation and Division

In 1908 Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará wanted to marry Countess Elisabeth Dobržensky de Dobrženicz[1](1875–1951) who, although a noblewoman of the Kingdom of Bohemia, did not belong to a royal or reigning dynasty. Although the constitution of the Brazilian Empire did not require a dynast to marry equally,[2] his mother ruled that the marriage would not be valid dynastically for the Brazilian succession,[2] and as a result he renounced his rights to the throne of Brazil on 30 October 1908:[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] To solemnize this, Dom Pedro, aged thirty-three, signed the document translated here:

I Prince Pedro de Alcântara Luiz Filipe Maria Gastão Miguel Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga of Orléans and Braganza, having maturely reflected, have resolved to renounce the right that, by the Constitution of the Empire of Brazil, promulgated on 25 March 1824, accords to me the Crown of that nation. I declare, therefore, that by my free and spontaneous will I hereby renounce, in my own name, as well as for any and all of my descendants, to all and any rights that the aforesaid Constitution confers upon us to the Brazilian Crown and Throne, which shall pass to the lines which follow mine, conforming to the order of succession as established by article 117. Before God I promise, for myself and my descendants, to hold to the present declaration.

Cannes 30 October 1908 signed: Pedro de Alcântara of Orléans-Braganza[10]

This renunciation was followed by a letter from Isabel to royalists in Brazil:

9 November 1908, [Castle of] Eu

Most Excellent Gentlemen Members of the Monarchist Directory,

With all my heart I thank you for the congratulations upon the marriages of my dear children Pedro and Luiz. Luis´s took place in Cannes on the 4th with the brilliance that is desired for so solemn an act in the life of my successor to the Throne of Brazil. I was very pleased. Pedro´s shall take place next on the 14th. Before the marriage of Luis he signed his resignation to the crown of Brazil, and here I send it to you, while keeping here an identical copy. I believe that this news must be published as soon as possible (you gentlemen shall do it in the way that you judge to be most satisfactory) in order to prevent the formation of parties that would be a great evil for our country. Pedro will continue to love his homeland, and will give all possible support to his brother. Thank God they are very united. Luis will engage actively in everything with respect to the monarchy and any good for our land. However, without giving up my rights I want that he be up to date on everything so that he may prepare himself for the position which with all my heart I desire that one day he will hold. You may write to him as many times as you may want to so that he shall be informed of everything. My strength is not the same as it once was, but my heart is still the same to love my homeland and all those who are so dedicated to us. I give you all my friendship and confidence,

a) Isabel, comtesse d'Eu

After Prince Pedro's renunciation, he lost every royal title he had and his dynastic rights as heir of his mother passed to his brother, Prince Luís of Orléans-Braganza, who became Prince Imperial of Brazil. However, years later, after Pedro's death in 1940, his eldest son did not accept his father's resignation and again claimed the Brazilian throne in conflict with Prince Pedro Henrique of Orléans-Braganza, son and heir of Prince Luís, dead in 1920. Thus began a dispute for the crown of Brazil. The descendants of Prince Pedro became known as the Petrópolis Branch, and the descendants of Prince Luís as Vassouras Branch.

The Family Compact of 1909

After the resignation of Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará on 1908 to marry a bohemian noble, he lost his rights and his titles as Prince of Brazil. To maintain the princely status, his father, Prince Gaston of Orleans, as former member of the French Royal Family sought the head of this dynasty.

Recognizing the principle of pérégrinité and therefore the impossibility for foreign princes to claim the crown of France,[11][12] the Orléans claimants and their supporters consider excluded from the succession to the throne the foreign descendants of King Louis-Philippe I: the Brazilian Orléans-Braganza (descendants of the Comte d'Eu) and the Spanish Orléans-Galliera (descendants of Antoine, Duke of Montpensier).[13][14]

The agreement of the family in 1909, known as the "Family Compact" (Pacte de Famille) confirms the exclusion of members of these branches from the succession on grounds of pérégrinité.[14] Further, it "takes note" of a written promise given by the Count of Eu and his son to refrain from asserting any claim to the Crown of France and to the position of Head of the House of France until the total extinction of all the other dynastic branches of the House of France (the Montpensiers were already deemed excluded).[14] According the compact, the House of France recognized the Brazilian House of Orléans-Braganza as a cadet branch and create to his member the French title of Prince of Orléans-Braganza.

Alfred de Gramont alleged in his diary, L'ami du Prince, journal of a novel, published by Eric Mension Rigau-Fayard in 2011) that this decision was made by the Orléans for two reasons: first, the desire of other dynasts to exclude the Comte d'Eu and the princes of Orléans-Braganza (who became heirs presumptive to the Empire of Brazil), and second, the influence of French nationalism. However, exclusion from the succession as a consequence of permanent emigration to Brazil had been acknowledged and accepted in writing by the Count of Eu prior to his marriage to the Princess Imperial of Brazil.


Vassouras line

Petrópolis line

See also


  1. Villon, Victor. "Elisabeth Dobrzensky "Empress of Brazil"". Royalty Digest Quarterly.
  2. 1 2 Sainty, Guy Stair. "House of Bourbon: Branch of Orléans-Braganza". Chivalric Orders. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
  3. <BARMAN, Roderick J., Princesa Isabel do Brasil: gênero e poder no século XIX, UNESP, 2005
  4. VIANNA, Hélio. Vultos do Império. São Paulo: Companhia Editoria Nacional, 1968, p.224
  5. FREYRE, Gilberto. Ordem e Progresso. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 1959, p.517 and 591
  6. LYRA, Heitor. História de Dom Pedro II - 1825-1891. São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional, 1940, vol.III, p.300
  7. Enciclopaedia Barsa, vol. IV, article "Braganza", p.210, 1992
  8. JANOTTI, Maria de Lourdes. Os Subversivos da República. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1986, p.255-7
  9. MALATIAN, Teresa Maria. A Ação Imperial Patrianovista Brasileira. São Paulo, 1978, p.153-9
  10. Montjouvent, Philippe de (1998). Le comte de Paris et sa Descendance (in French). Charenton: Éditions du Chaney. p. 97. ISBN 2-913211-00-3.
  11. Dumoulin, Charles. Coutumes de Paris. 1576.
  12. de Seyssel, Claude. La Monarchie de France, vol. I.7. Paris, 1961, pp. 112-3.
  13. de Montjouvent, Philippe. Le Comte de Paris et Sa Descendance. Annexes. Du Chaney Eds, Paris, 1998, p. 431. ISBN 2-913211-00-3. French.
  14. 1 2 3 de Saisseval, Guy Coutant. La Légitimité monarchique. Paris, 1985. In French.
  15. Bodstein, Astrid (2006). "The Imperial Family of Brazil". Royalty Digest Quarterly (3).
  16. Bernardo Gutiérrez, "La familia real brasileña defiende los nuevos ideales", Príncipes Republicanos (09/01/2008)

External links

House of Orléans-Braganza
Cadet branch of the House of Orléans
Preceded by
House of Braganza
as the reigning house
Claimant House of the
Brazilian monarchy

Reason for succession failure:
Brazilian monarchy abolished in 1889
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