Thursday, 7 December 2006

H.M. D. Maria I, Queen of Portugal (1734-1816)


H. M. Mary I, Queen of Portugal and of the Algarves

Eldest daughter of King D. José I (1714-1777) and Queen D. Mariana Vitória of Bourbon (1718-1781) dau of Philip V, king of Spain and his second wife princess Elizabeth Farnese.
She ascended the throne in 1777, on her father's death. From 1792, due to mental illness, her oldest surviving son prince D. João ruled in her name, assuming the title of Regent in 1799 till he succeeded the Crown as John VI, in 1816. The Queen never recovered from the death of her eldest son and heir prince D. José, at the age of 26, from the events of the French Revolution of which she learned the reports made by many émigrés to whom she gave asylum, and the execution in the guillotine of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette.
As daughter, of the then prince of Brazil - Dom José, heir presumptive to the throne, she became princess of Beira and after her father's accession to the throne as king D. José I, she became princess of Brazil and duchess of Bragança.
She married her uncle Infante D. Pedro (1717- 1786), grand-prior of Crato (a priory of the Order of Malta) and lord of Infantado, as the second male son of King John V.
In 1807, avoiding capture by the invading Napoleonic Army under the command of Marshall Junot and following the advice of the British Government, the Queen accompanied by the Royal Family and many courtiers fled to Brazil in a fleet escorted by warships of the British Royal Navy.
Queen Mary I died in Brazil at Rio de Janeiro in 1816 and was later buried at the Estrela Basilica in Lisbon which was built by her command.
Insc: Maria I Dei Gratia Portugaliae et Algarbiorum Regina
Artist: Jerónimo de Barros Ferreira (XVIIIth century)
Tech.: Steel engraving

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