Wednesday, 13 December 2006

H.M Queen Amelia of Portugal

H. M. Marie Amélie Heléne d'Orléans, Queen of Portugal (1865 - 1951)
Motto: «Espérance»
Artist: H.M.'s fecit, Agry (Paris) sculp.
Technique: Steel engraving
Arms: Portugal and Bourbon (without the lambel proper of the Orleans branch as was unduly borne by the pricess' brother and other Orleans, after the death of the Comte de Chambord, the lawful head of the Bourbon Family, succeeded by the Carlist princes).

H.M. was the eldest daughter of prince Louis Philippe d'Orléans (1838-1894), count of Paris and Princess Maria-Isabel d'Orléans (1848-1919), Infanta of Spain and grand-daughter of Ferdinand Philippe d'Orléans (1810-1842), Duke of Chartres. Her father succeeded his grandfather Louis Philip d’Orléans, deposed King of the French, in 1850, as the Head of the Orléans Family and as such the Orleanist claimant to the throne of France as Philip VII.
The Princess was born at York House, in Twickenham, which had been bought by the Count of Paris in 1864 and where his Family lived in exile till 1871 when, after the fall of the II Empire, the Orléans Family was allowed to return to France. They then went to live at the Chateau d’Eu, in Normandy, a vast domain of the Orléans. The Family was to return to exile in 1886, under the II Republic, due to the royalist support involving a dinner party given in Paris to celebrate the Princess’ engagement to Charles, prince Royal of Portugal.

Portrait at the Coaches Museum Lisbon

She married Charles, Prince Royal of Portugal and Duke of Bragança in 1886. Upon her husband’s accession to the throne in 1889 she became Queen of Portugal. They had two sons:
Infante D. Luís Filipe (1887-1908), prince of Beira - as the eldest son of the
Prince Royal, and later Prince Royal and Duke of Bragança. He was murdered
together with his father on February 1st, 1908 by republican radicals; (see, an
article by David Arthur Walters, The 1908 Lisbon Assassinations);
Infante D. Manuel (1889-1932), Duke of Beja, and later (1908) D. Manuel II, king of Portugal and Duke of Bragança, till he was overthrown by a revolution in October 5th, 1910, having lived in exile in England till his premature death in 1932.
After the wedding, the Princes went to live at the Royal Palace of Belém, whereas King Louis I and Queen Maria Pia lived at the Royal Palace of Ajuda, both in Lisbon. After 1889, they lived at Palácio das Necessidades

In 1892, H.H Pope Leo XIII bestowed Queen Amelia the Golden Rose.
Having seen the deplorable state of abandon in which were kept some of the precious old Royal Coaches at the Palace Stables she took an active interest in their restoration and sponsored the creation in Lisbon of the Royal Coaches Museum. To lodge it she arranged the new Museum to be placed at the Horse Riding Arena of the Belém Royal Palace. The new Museum was opened to the public in 1905 and is still one of the most visited Museums in Lisbon. (see, temporary exhibition at the National Coaches Museum - D. Amélia, one queen one museum.)
An active philantropist she founded the Instituto de Socorros a Náufragos in 1892 to assist the rescue of drowned people.
But her greatest contribution was the founding in 1899 of a private charity association, which still exists today, for the combat and free treatment of Tuberculosis a major epidemic of the time (and unfortunately of our times too). In order to raise funds for the assistance to the Tuberculosis patients she asked Count of Sabugosa to write a book on the history of the Royal Palace of Sintra illustrated with drawings of her own hand.
The Queen had a predilection for painting and music. Pablo Casals for instance was invited to perform at the Royal Palace and the Queen patronised Guilhermina Suggia’s (1885-1950) studies in Leipzig.
She also enjoyed horse riding and hunting being an exceptional horsewoman.
In 1903 she made a voyage by sea to North Africa and Palestine with her two sons and a small party travelling abroad the Royal Yacht Amelia visiting namely, Cairo, Port-Said and Jerusalem. At Cairo the Queen and the Princes were the guests of the Khedive Abbas Hilmi II, who presented the Queen with a gift of Egyptian antiquities for the King of Portugal, which is today housed at the National Museum of Archeology (see, Álvaro Figueiredo, The Lisbon Mummy Project: The employment of non-destructive methods in mummy studies, at

After the Republican Revolution in October 5th 1910, she left Portugal with her son and lived in England at Fulwell Park till the King married in 1913. After 1922, the Queen went to live in France at the Castle of Bellevue, in Chesnay, near Versailles.
Queen Amelia has yet to have her biographer but the best unbiased appreciation of the Queen can be found in the recent study of Prof. Rui Ramos about King D. Carlos I - Rui Ramos, D. Carlos (1863-1908), Lisboa, Círculo de Leitores, 2006 - and in an important critical article he wrote on the two books published by French authors on the Queen in «Análise Social», nº 160, vol.XXXVI, 2001 (see, (in Portuguese).
See also, a very recent book by Eduardo Nobre, D. Amélia – Rainha de Portugal Quimera, Lisboa, 2006 and Família Real - Álbum de Fotografias, Quimera, Lisboa, 2002.

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