Maria II of Portugal

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Maria II
Maria II of Portugal.JPG
Queen Maria II around age 31, c. 1850
Queen of Portugal and the Algarves
1st reign 2 May 1826 – 23 June 1828
Predecessor Pedro IV
Successor Miguel I
2nd reign 26 May 1834 – 15 November 1853
Predecessor Miguel I
Successor Pedro V
Co-monarch Fernando II
Prime Ministers
Born (1819-04-04)4 April 1819
Palace of São Cristóvão
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Died 15 November 1853(1853-11-15) (aged 34)
Necessidades Palace
Lisbon, Portugal
Burial Pantheon of the Braganzas, Lisbon, Portugal
Spouse Miguel I of Portugal (annulled)
Auguste of Leuchtenberg
Fernando II of Portugal
among others...
Pedro V
Luís I
Infante João
Infanta Maria Ana
Infanta Antónia
Infante Fernando
Infante Augusto
Full name
Maria da Glória Joana Carlota Leopoldina da Cruz Francisca Xavier de Paula Isidora Micaela Gabriela Rafaela Gonzaga
House Braganza
Father Pedro I of Brazil
Mother Maria Leopoldina of Austria
Religion Roman Catholicism

Dona Maria II (4 April 1819 – 15 November 1853) "the Educator" (Portuguese: "a Educadora") or "the Good Mother" (Portuguese: "a Boa Mãe"), was Queen regnant of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves from 1826 to 1828 and again from 1834 to 1853. She was a member of the House of Braganza.

Early life

Maria II at age 10, 1829
Maria II around age 14, c.1833

Born Maria da Glória Joana Carlota Leopoldina da Cruz Francisca Xavier de Paula Isidora Micaela Gabriela Rafaela Gonzaga,[1] in Rio de Janeiro, she was the daughter of the future King of Portugal and first Emperor of Brazil, Pedro IV and I and his first wife Maria Leopoldina, Archduchess of Austria, herself a daughter of Emperor Francis II. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Maria is the only European monarch to have been born outside Europe, though she was still born in Portuguese territory.

Succession crisis

Effigy of Maria II, 1849

When Maria's grandfather King João VI died in March 1826, there was a succession crisis in Portugal. The king had a male heir, Pedro, but Pedro had proclaimed the independence of Brazil in 1822 and he was then Emperor Pedro I of that country. The late king also had a younger son, Miguel, but he was exiled in Austria after leading a number of revolutions against his father and his liberal regime.

Before his death, the king had nominated his favourite daughter, Isabel Maria, to serve as regent until "the legitimate heir returned to the Kingdom" — but he had failed to specify which of his sons was the legitimate heir: Peter, the liberal Emperor of Brazil, or Miguel, the absolutist exiled prince.

Most people considered Peter to be the legitimate heir, but Brazil did not want him to unite Portugal and Brazil's thrones again. The European country had been under Brazilian rule when both were part of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves, established by King João VI during his stay in Rio de Janeiro from 1808 until 1820. Aware that his brother's supporters were ready to bring Miguel back and put him on the throne, Peter decided for a more consensual option; he abdicated the throne to his eldest daughter, Maria da Glória (who was only seven years old), and she should marry her uncle Miguel, who should accept the liberal constitution and act as a regent until his niece was an adult.

Miguel pretended to accept, but when he arrived in Portugal he deposed Maria and proclaimed himself King, abrogating the liberal constitution in the process. During his reign of terror, Maria traveled to many European courts, including her grandfather's in Vienna, as well as London and Paris.

Pedro abdicated the Brazilian throne in 1831 in favor of his son (and Maria's younger brother, Pedro II), and joined the forces loyal to Maria in the Azores in their war against Miguel, forcing him to abdicate in 1834. Maria was thereupon restored to the throne, and obtained an annulment of her betrothal.

On 7 February 1833, in order to protect the Queen, the 2nd Lancers Regiment was created, first known as the Regimento de Lanceiros da Rainha, in English, Queen's Lancers Regiment, with the motto "Morte ou Glória", "Death or Glory" (same as 17th Lancers, since Lt. Col. Sir Anthony Bacon was its first commander), a fortunate coincidence since the Queen's name was Maria da Glória.

Maria II was heir to her brother Pedro II as Princess Imperial until her exclusion from the Brazilian line of succession by law no. 91 of 30 October 1835.


Queen Maria II by John Simpson
Queen Maria II, around age 33, one year before her death, c. 1852. Painting by Sir William Charles Ross.

On 26 January 1835 Maria married, at the age of fifteen, Auguste, Duke of Leuchtenberg, son of Eugène de Beauharnais, and grandson of Empress Josephine. However, he died only two months later on 28 March 1835.

On 1 January 1836, she married the cultured and able Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He received the title of King consort in 1837, in accordance with Portuguese custom, upon the birth of their first child Peter, an heir to the throne.

In 1842, Pope Gregory XVI presented Maria with a Golden Rose.

Maria's reign saw a revolutionary insurrection on 16 May 1846, but this was crushed by royalist troops on 22 February 1847, and Portugal otherwise avoided the European upheavals of 1848. Maria's reign was also notable for a public health act aimed at curbing the spread of cholera throughout the country. She also pursued policies aimed at raising the levels of education throughout the country.

After constant pregnancies and births, doctors warned Maria of the dangers of giving birth nearly every year. However, she ignored the risks that had killed her mother, who had died of complications following a miscarriage after many births; "If I die, I die at my post", Maria said. In 1853 she died in Lisbon, while giving birth to her eleventh child, Infante Eugénio, who also died.

Maria II is remembered as a good mother and a kind person, who always acted according to her convictions in the attempt to help her country. She was later given the surname "The Good Mother."

Marriages and issue

Maria first married Auguste Charles, 2nd Duke of Leuchtenberg, son of Eugène de Beauharnais, grandson of Empress Josephine, who died soon after arriving in Portugal. She married again; her second husband was Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, son of Prince Ferdinand Georg August of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and his wife Princess Maria Antonia Koháry de Csábrág.

Royal styles of
Queen Maria II of Portugal
Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Portugal (1640-1910).png
Reference style Her Most Faithful Majesty
Spoken style Your Most Faithful Majesty
Alternative style Ma'am
Name Birth Death Notes
Auguste de Beauharnais Married in 1835
Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Married on 9 April 1836
Pedro V 16 December 1837 11 November 1861 Succeeded his mother as Peter V, the 31st (or, according to some, 32nd) King of Portugal.
Luís I 31 October 1838 19 October 1889 Succeeded his brother, Pedro, as the 32nd (or, according to some, 33rd) King of Portugal.
Infanta Maria 4 October 1840 Stillborn daughter.
Infante João 16 March 1842 27 December 1861 Duke of Beja
Infanta Maria Ana 21 August 1843 5 February 1884 Married King George of Saxony and was the mother of King Frederick August III of Saxony.
Infanta Antónia 17 February 1845 27 December 1913 Married Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern and was the mother of King Ferdinand I of Romania.
Infante Fernando of Portugal 23 July 1846 6 November 1861 Died of cholera at age 15.
Infante Augusto 4 November 1847 26 September 1889 Duke of Coimbra
Infante Leopoldo 7 May 1849 Stillborn son.
Infanta Maria da Glória 3 February 1851 Died some hours after her birth.
Infante Eugénio 15 November 1853 Died some hours after the death of his mother.


See also


  1. Sousa 1972a, p. 112.


  • Sousa, Otávio Tarquínio de (1972a). A vida de D. Pedro I (in Portuguese). 1. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Maria II of Portugal
Cadet branch of the House of Aviz
Born: 4 April 1819 Died: 15 November 1853
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Pedro IV
Queen of Portugal and the Algarves
Succeeded by
as usurper
Preceded by
as usurper
Queen of Portugal and the Algarves
with Ferdinand II (1836–1853)
Succeeded by
Pedro V
Brazilian royalty
New title Princess Imperial of Brazil
12 October 1822 – 2 December 1825
Succeeded by
Princess of Grão-Pará
2 December 1825 – 2 May 1826
Title next held by
Pedro de Alcântara
Preceded by
Prince Pedro
Princess Imperial of Brazil
7 April 1831 – 30 October 1835
Succeeded by
Januária Maria
Portuguese royalty
Preceded by
Duchess of Braganza
12 October 1822 – 2 May 1826
Title next held by
New title Duchess of Porto
4 April 1833 – 31 October 1838
Succeeded by