A period cartoon, showing the conflict between the Two Brothers, as children, and the major States of Europe, as grown parents, trying to avoid the quarrel.

In the history of Portugal, a Miguelist (in Portuguese Miguelista) was a supporter of the legitimacy of the king Miguel I of Portugal. The name is also given to those who supported absolutism as form of government, in opposition to the liberals who intended the establishment of a constitutional regime in Portugal.

Miguel was regent for his niece Queen Maria II of Portugal, and potential royal consort. However, he claimed the Portuguese throne in his own right on the grounds that the "Fundamental Laws of the Kingdom" deprived his elder brother Pedro IV of his right to reign (and of any right of Pedro's daughter to inherit the kingdom from her father) when Pedro became sovereign of the former Portuguese colony of Brazil and launched war on Portugal to oust Miguel as a usurper.

This overall led to a political crisis, during which many people were killed, imprisoned, persecuted or sent into exile, culminating in the Portuguese Liberal Wars between authoritarian Absolutists (led by Miguel) and progressive Constitutionalists (led by Pedro).

In the end, Miguel was forced from the throne and lived the last 32 years of his life in exile.

Miguelism is based not only on the premise that Miguel and his line have legitimate right to the Portuguese throne, but also on defense of the traditional principles of a conservative monarchy based in Roman Catholic values and in the absolute power of the king, in contrast to the Enlightenment values.

Miguelist Braganzas

King Miguel I was exiled following the Convention of Evora-Monte (1834), which put an end to the Liberal Wars. The throne was retaken by his niece, Queen Maria II, and a liberal regime was installed.

In exile, the former king married a wealthy Bavarian princess, Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. This marriage was the origin of the new Miguelist branch of the Braganzas and their descendants include not only the current claimant to the Portuguese crown, as well as the monarchs of Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and other claimants to former European monarchies (Habsburgs, Austria-Este, Savoy, Wittelsbach, Bourbon-Parma, Thurn und Taxis, Ligne).

Finally, this Miguelist branch, became the sole Braganzas representative when King Manuel II of Portugal (the last male Braganza from the senior liberal branch) died without issue, allegedly leaving his closest legitimate Portuguese relative, his Miguelist cousin Duarte Nuno, as heir. Also Maria Pia of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Braganza, who claimed to be the illegitimate daughter of King Carlos I of Portugal, claimed the right to the titles of Duchess of Braganza and to be the rightful Queen of Portugal.[1]

List of Miguelist claimants to the Portuguese throne since 1834

Claimant Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Miguel I
(Legitimist claimant)
26 October 1802, Lisbon
son of João VI
and Carlota Joaquina of Spain
Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg
24 September 1851
7 children
14 November 1866
aged 64
Miguel, Duke of Braganza
(Legitimist claimant)
19 September 1853, Kleinheubach
son of Miguel I
and Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg
Elisabeth of Thurn and Taxis
17 October 1877
3 children
Maria Theresa of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg
8 November 1893
8 children
11 October 1927
aged 74
Duarte Nuno, Duke of Braganza
(Legitimist claimant)
(Royalist claimant)
23 September 1907, Seebenstein
son of Miguel, Duke of Braganza
and Maria Theresa of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg
Maria Francisca of Orléans-Braganza
15 October 1942
3 children
24 December 1976
aged 69
Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza
15 May 1945
son of Duarte Nuno, Duke of Braganza
and Maria Francisca of Orléans-Braganza
Isabel, Duchess of Braganza
13 May 1995
3 children

Genealogical Chart

On the family tree below, the Miguelist branch is clearly identified on the right-hand side.

John VI
King of the U. K. of
Portugal, Brazil & the Algarves
King of Portugal & the Algarves 1822-1826
Pedro I / IV
Emp. of Brazil 1822-31
King of Portugal 1826
Miguel I
Regent (to his niece) 1828
King of Portugal 1828-34
Legitimist claimant 1834-66
Pedro II
Emp. of Brazil 1831-89
deposed (1889)
Maria II
Queen of Portugal
1826-28, 1834-53
Fernando II
Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Prince Consort 1836-37
King Consort 1837-53
Pedro V
King of Portugal 1853-61
Luis I
King of Portugal 1861-89
Miguel (II)
Legitimist claimant 1866-1920
Carlos I
King of Portugal 1889-1908
Manuel II
last King of Portugal 1908-10
deposed (1910), without issue
Duarte Nuno
Legitimist claimant 1920-32
Royalist claimant 1932-76
Duarte Pio
[born 1945]
Duke of Braganza
Current claimant (since 1976)

See also


  1. Jean Pailler; Maria Pia of Braganza: The Pretender. New York: ProjectedLetters, 2006.
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