Friday, 8 December 2006

The Bookplate of H.M. Dom Manuel II king of Portugal

D. Manuel II was born in Lisbon at the Royal Palace of Belém and was baptized in the Palace Chapel with the name D. Manuel Maria Filipe Carlos Amélia Luís Miguel Rafael Gabriel Gonzaga Xavier Francisco de Assis Eugénio de Bragança Orleães Sabóia e Saxe-Coburgo Gota.
The second son of the then Prince Royal and Duke of Bragança - D. Carlos (1863-1908) and princess Marie-Amélie d’Orléans (1865-1951), dau of Louis-Philippe d’Orléans (1838-1894), comte de Paris and grandson of King Dom Luís (1838-1889) and Queen Maria Pia of Savoy. At birth Infante D. Manuel was titled as Duke of Beja.
His father ascended the throne, as Charles I just two months before the Prince’s birth and reigned till his coward assassination in Febraury 1st, 1908 together with his eldest son and heir the Prince Royal D. Luís Filipe, duke of Bragança by radicals commanded by the Republican party and believed to belong to a Free-Masonry's organization called the Carbonaria.

D. Manuel II became Grand-Master of the Portuguese Ancient Military Orders of Christ, Avis and St. James of the Sword, of the Order of the Tower and of the Sword founded at Rio de Janeiro by his ancestor King John VI and of the Order of Our Lady of the Conception of Vila Viçosa.
As regards foreign Orders he was also a Knight of the Order of the Garter and of the Order of the Golden Fleece and Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.
The prestige of the monarchy was severely shaken with the tragic disappearance of king Charles I and the intrigues of the politicians of the traditional royalist political parties who to gain power did not hesitate to conspire with the republicans at the cost of the royalist institutions and the prestige of the Royal Family.
The inexperienced King followed the counsels of those who proposed compromise abstaining even from inquiring or prosecuting the late King’s murderers.
The Revolution broke out in Lisbon on the 4th October 1910 and next day the King and the Royal Family fled the country, embarking in the Royal Yacht «Amelia» to Gibraltar and then to England.
He first lived with his mother Queen D. Maria Amélia at Abercorn House, in Richmond.
The exiled King married in 1913 princess Augusta Victoria of Hohenzollern-Simaringen (1890-1966) and went to live at a house in Fulwell Park, at Twikenham. He died in 1932 and was buried in Lisbon at the Panteão de S. Vicente de Fora with state honours.
A passionate bibliophile, the king spent his years of exile and part of his fortune assembling a formidable collection of rare Portuguese books from 1469-1600.
As a result of his studies and research he wrote a monumental work of bibliography which was published with the collaboration of Maggs. Bros and printed at the University of Cambridge:
Livros Antigos Portugueses, 1489-1600, da Biblioteca de Sua Majestade
Fidelíssima, descritos por S.M. El-Rei D. Manuel,
3 vols., Maggs. Bros, London, [1929, 1932, 1935].
The 3rd volume was not written by the king who died before he could start it, and the task was undertaken by his faithful secretary Miss Margery Withers and published in 1935, with a foreword by Prof. Aybrey Bell. The text is in Portuguese and English.

The King’s precious Library is today at the Palace of Vila Viçosa, the ancient seat of the Dukes of Bragança which together with the king’s vast patrimony is owned and administered by the Foundation of the House of Bragança, created by the Portuguese Government after the king’s death as a means of fulfilling the King’s last will.

Two sites if interest regarding the King's life at Twikenham:

The king's ex libris bears the Royal Arms as used by king D. Manuel I and the latter's famous badge. The motto in the ex libris is the one traditionally used by the Dukes of Bragança before ascending to the throne, who considered themselves the next in line to the Royal Family.
Insc.:D. Manuel II
Motto: «Depois de Vós Nós»
Tech.: Woodengraving (X2)
Azevedo, Francisco de Simas Alves de, Marca de Posse de um Homem de Bem e de Grande Cultura: O Ex-Libris de El-Rei D. Manuel II, in «No Primeiro Centenário de El-Rei D. Manuel II (1889-1932)», Academia Portuguesa de História. Lisboa, 1991.

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