King Louis I of Portugal, unlike the majority of his countrymen, was a blue eyed blond. He was the son of a German Prince, Ferdinand of Saxe Cobourg, who married the ruling Queen, Maria II de Gloria. Louis I wasn’t destined for the throne, but the death of his elder brother, the young King Pedro V, changed that. He had a rather uneventful reign.



Louis I was succeeded by his eldest son Carlos I. While he was the Crown Prince, Carlos married Princess Amelie of France, the eldest daughter of the Count of Paris. The wedding reception at the l’hotel Matignon in Paris, the home of the pretender to the throne, was ultimately what provoked the law of exile against the Count.


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King Louis I married Maria Pia of Savoy, the daughter of Victor Emmanuel II. She was an eccentric without equal. My grandmother told me a story about how Queen Maria Pia delayed a solemn Te Deum at the cathedral of Lisbon by three hours, so that at the moment of her entry a ray of sunlight would pierce the rosace of the cathedral’s window and highlight her red hair. It is said that when she was a widow, and was given the Sintra Château as a residence, she spent her time scrawling “I am fucking bored” on the bue and white azulejos walls with crayons.



The wife of Carlos I, Amelie of France, Aunt Amelie for those of us who knew her, was as majestic as she was generous. Here, she is wearing grand Court dress, decorated with some of the most beautiful emerald and diamond jewelry of the Portuguese Crown. She held her Court with perfection.



King Carlos I, in time, acquired a hefty frame. He was a die-hard hunter as well as a great admirer of beautiful women. He was also a talented amateur painter, a spiritual man, and very charming. His sister-in-law, my grandmother, the Duchess of Guise, was profoundly attached to him.


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King Carlos I and Queen Amelie had two sons. The Crown Prince, Louis-Philippe, named after his ancestor the King of France, was assassinated while still only an adolescent, along with his father, in a tragedy that soon provoked a revolution and the ultimate fall of the monarchy. Until her last day, Amelie could not forget having seen her husband and child killed before her own eyes.


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The tragedy that claimed the lives of King Carlos and Crown Prince Louis-Philippe left only the younger son, Manuel. He survived the attack because his mother, Queen Amelie, threw a bouquet of flowers at the assassin, deflecting the bullet into Manuel’s arm. He rose to the throne at a young age, under the name of Manuel II, but wouldn’t last long. Soon a revolution ended their dynasty, and royalty altogether.

by  Prince Michael of Greece

3 comments on “Portugal


    I’m deeply touched by Your article today.
    They are my favourite Portuguese Royals and my family ( both my mother and father sides) was in great connection with them and belonged to the small group of gentry families that usually helped and financed the royal Charities during the reigns of both Kings : D.Luis I and his son D.Carlos I.
    Maria Pia came to Portugal ,15 years old to marry King D.Luis, ater having lost her mother when she was only nine.
    During the Second World War my mother, then quite young, used to go riding to the horse ring that belonged to Queen D.Amélia before, at the Royal Palácio da Necessidades in Lisbon, and she saw in some windows of the Palace :” Non mi piace Luigi”, traced on glass by Maria Pia , surely with some diamonds…That she never forgot and so se told me , since I was a young girl.
    Thank You so much YRH for you kindness of sharing these wonderful stories .

    All my very best wishes!

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