Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará

Prince Pedro de Alcântara
Prince of Grão-Pará
Born 15 October 1875
Petrópolis, Empire of Brazil
Died 29 January 1940(1940-01-29) (aged 64)
Petrópolis, Brazil
Burial Cathedral of São Pedro de Alcântara, Petrópolis, Brazil
Spouse Countess Elisabeth Dobržensky de Dobrženicz
Issue Princess Isabelle, Countess of Paris
Prince Pedro Gastão
Princess Maria Francisca, Duchess of Braganza
Prince João Maria
Princess Teresa
Full name
Pedro de Alcântara Luiz Filipe Maria Gastão Miguel Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga
House Orléans-Braganza
Father Prince Gaston, Count of Eu
Mother Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil
Religion Roman Catholic
Styles of
Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão Pará
Reference style His Imperial and Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Imperial and Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir

Dom Pedro de Alcântara of Orléans-Braganza, Prince of Grão Pará (15 October 1875 29 January 1940) was the first-born son of Dona Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil, and her husband Gaston of Orléans, count of Eu, and, as such, was born second-in-line to the Imperial throne of Brazil, during the reign of his grandfather, Emperor Dom Pedro II, until the empire's abolition. He went into exile in Europe with his mother when his grandfather was deposed in 1889, and grew up largely in France, at a family apartment in Boulogne-sur-Seine, and at his father's castle, the Château d'Eu in Normandy.[1]


In 1908 Dom Pedro wanted to marry Countess Elisabeth Dobržensky de Dobrženicz[2](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,[3] his mother ruled that the marriage would not be valid dynastically for the Brazilian succession,[3] and as a result he renounced his rights to the throne of Brazil on 30 October 1908:[4][5][6][7][8][9][10] 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[11]

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

Nonetheless, a few years before his death Prince Pedro de Alcântara told a Brazilian newspaper:

"My resignation was not valid for many reasons: besides, it was not a hereditary resignation."[12]

Death of the Princess Imperial

After the death of the Princess Imperial in 1921, the deceased Dom Luiz's son, Prince Pedro Henrique of Orléans-Braganza, assumed the position of claimant to the Brazilian throne and was recognized as such by many of Europe's dynasties.[12] After Dom Pedro de Alcântara's death in 1940 his eldest son, Prince Pedro Gastão of Orléans-Braganza, asserted a counter-claim as the proper successor (garnering the support of his brothers-in-law, the pretenders to the thrones of Orléanist France and Miguelist Portugal), and some Brazilian legal scholars subsequently argued that his father's renunciation would, indeed, have been constitutionally invalid under the monarchy.[12] Although Pedro de Alcântara's daughter, Princess Isabel, is said to have referred to Dom Pedro Gastão as "My brother, the Brazilian Emperor",[12] she acknowledged in her memoirs that their father nonetheless regarded his renunciation as binding, and treated it as effective.[13]


Pedro and Elisabeth married on 14 November 1908 in Versailles, France, and had 5 children :

After his death his son Prince Pedro Gastão assumed the headship of the Petrópolis branch of the Imperial House of Brazil.



  1. Montjouvent, Philippe de (1998). Le comte de Paris et sa Descendance (in French). Charenton: Éditions du Chaney. p. 50. ISBN 2-913211-00-3.
  2. Villon, Victor. "Elisabeth Dobrzensky "Empress of Brazil"". Royalty Digest Quarterly.
  3. 1 2 Sainty, Guy Stair. "House of Bourbon: Branch of Orléans-Braganza". Chivalric Orders. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
  4. <BARMAN, Roderick J., Princesa Isabel do Brasil: gênero e poder no século XIX, UNESP, 2005
  5. VIANNA, Hélio. Vultos do Império. São Paulo: Companhia Editoria Nacional, 1968, p.224
  6. FREYRE, Gilberto. Ordem e Progresso. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 1959, p.517 and 591
  7. LYRA, Heitor. História de Dom Pedro II - 1825-1891. São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional, 1940, vol.III, p.300
  8. Enciclopaedia Barsa, vol. IV, article "Braganza", p.210, 1992
  9. JANOTTI, Maria de Lourdes. Os Subversivos da República. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1986, p.255-7
  10. MALATIAN, Teresa Maria. A Ação Imperial Patrianovista Brasileira. São Paulo, 1978, p.153-9
  11. Montjouvent, Philippe de (1998). Le comte de Paris et sa Descendance (in French). Charenton: Éditions du Chaney. p. 97. ISBN 2-913211-00-3.
  12. 1 2 3 4 Bodstein, Astrid (2006). "The Imperial Family of Brazil". Royalty Digest Quarterly (3). Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2007-12-28.
  13. Tout m'est bonheur, tome 1 (Paris: R. Laffont, 1978), page 445 (French)
Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará
Cadet branch of the House of Orléans
Born: 15 October 1875 Died: 29 January 1940
Brazilian royalty
Title last held by
Princess Maria
Prince of Grão-Pará
15 October 1875 – November 15, 1889
Monarchy abolished
Titles in pretence
Republic declared Prince of Grão-Pará
November 15, 1889 – 5 December 1891
Title next held by
Prince Pedro Henrique
Preceded by
Princess Isabel
Prince Imperial of Brazil
5 December 1891 – 9 November 1908
Succeeded by
Prince Luiz

Article about Elisabeth Dobrzensky published in Royal Digest


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