House of Orléans-Braganza

House of Orléans-Braganza
Casa de Orléans e Bragança
COA Dinasty Orleães-Bragança.svg
Parent houseHouse of Orléans
House of Braganza
Country Brazil
Founded1864; 158 years ago (1864)
FounderIsabel of Braganza, Princess Imperial of Brazil
and Prince Gaston of Orleans, Count of Eu
Current headVassouras branch:
Prince Bertrand of Orléans-Braganza
Petrópolis branch:
Prince Pedro Carlos of Orléans-Braganza

The House of Orléans-Braganza (Portuguese: Casa de Orléans e Bragança) is a Brazilian imperial house of Portuguese and French origin. It is a cadet branch of the House of Braganza, of Portugal and later Brazil, and the House of Orléans, of France. The house was founded with the marriage between Isabel of Braganza, Princess Imperial of Brazil, and Prince Gaston of Orléans, Count of Eu. The house was never a reigning house, as Brazil's pure Braganza monarch, Pedro II, was deposed in 1889. The House's members are the current claimants to the Brazilian throne since 1921 as part of the Imperial House of Brazil.


Isabel and the Count of Eu with their son Prince Luís, his wife and children, in the Chateau d'Eu, 1913

In 1864, the Emperor Pedro II of Brazil was looking for a match to his daughters. The Emperor's sister, Princess of Joinville suggested her nephews, Prince Gaston, Count of Eu, and Prince Ludwig August of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, both grandsons of King Louis Philippe of France, as suitable choices for the imperial princesses. The two young men traveled to Brazil in August 1864 so that the prospective brides and grooms could meet before a final agreement to the marriage. Isabel and Leopoldina were not informed until Gaston and August were mid-Atlantic. Arriving in early September, Gaston described the princesses as "ugly", but thought Isabel less so than her sister. For her part, Isabel in her own words "began to feel a great and tender love" for Gaston.[65] The two couples: Gaston and Isabel; August and Leopoldina; were engaged on 18 September. On 15 October 1864 at Rio de Janeiro, Prince Gaston married Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil and heiress of the Empire.

It was from that marriage the royal house of Orléans-Braganza was formed. The couple had 3 surviving sons which were the first to use the surname Orléans-Braganza: Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará, Prince Luís and Prince Antônio. Both Prince Pedro and Prince Luís have children.

Today they are the present claimants to the throne of the former Empire of Brazil, which became extinct with the Brazilian proclamation of the republic, on 15 November 1889 after a military coup d'état headed by Marshall Deodoro da Fonseca, the 1st President of Brazil. After the death of Princess Isabel on 1921, the House of Orléans-Braganza became the claimant of the Brazilian throne under Prince Pedro Henrique of Orléans-Braganza.


On 15 November 1889 a republican coup d'ètat took place in Rio de Janeiro deposing the old Emperor Pedro II and proclaiming the exile of the Brazilian Imperial Family. The imperial family arrived in Lisbon on 7 December 1889. The Orleans-Braganza family moved to southern Spain. Further bad news came from Brazil, as the new government abolished the imperial family's allowances, their only substantial source of income, and declared the family banished. On the back of a large loan from a Portuguese businessman, the imperial family moved into the Hotel Beau Séjour at Cannes.[1][2]

In early 1890, Princess Isabel and Prince Gaston moved into a private villa, which was far cheaper than the hotel, but the Emperor refused to accompany them and remained at the Beau Séjour, later moving to Paris where he died in 1891. Prince Louis, Duke of Nemours, Gaston's father, provided them with a monthly allowance. By September, they had taken a villa near Versailles and their sons were enrolled in Parisian schools. Isabel and Gaston purchased a villa in Boulogne-sur-Seine, where they lived an essentially quiet life. Attempts by Brazilian monarchists to restore the crown were unsuccessful, and Isabel lent them only half-hearted support. She thought military action unwise and unwelcome. She correctly assumed that it was unlikely to succeed.

When Gaston's father died in 1896, an inheritance assured him and Isabel financial security. Their three sons enrolled at a military school in Vienna, and Isabel continued her charitable work associated with the Catholic Church. In 1905, Gaston purchased the Château d'Eu in Normandy,[3] the former home of her grandfather King Louis Philippe I and where he was raised, and the couple furnished it with items received from Brazil in the early 1890s.

In 1907, Prince Luís of Orléans-Braganza, Isabel and Gaston's second son, planned an ambitious project to defy the decree banishing the imperial family from Brazil by traveling to Rio de Janeiro. His sudden arrival created an uproar in the old imperial capital because the arrival was widely circulated in newspapers. It also caused difficulties for Brazilian politicians by placing the imperial family at the center of attention and many Brazilians went to welcome him. However, Luís was prevented from disembarking and was not allowed to set foot on his native land by the republican government. Nonetheless, he sent his mother a telegram saying: "Hindered of disembarking by the Government, I greet the Redeemer of Slaves on the bay of Guanabara in the eve of May 13."[4]

Next year, following the announcement of imminent, morganatic marriage between his older brother Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará and Countess Elisabeth Dobržensky de Dobrženicz,[5] Prince Luís, who assumed the title of Prince Imperial of Brazil, became the heir and married Princess Maria di Grazia of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, his cousin.[6] Both couples had many children. Prince Antônio Gastão of Orléans-Braganza didn't marry.

Soon before the World War I, Princes Luis and Antônio, members of the Austro-Hungarian Army with the permission of their uncle-grandpa, the Emperor Franz Joseph, disconnected from the military. With the war, they tried to enlist the French Army to protect the fatherland of their father, which they adopted but they both was denied because they were part of the French Royal Family. The Princes then joined the British armed forces. Prince Antônio died in 1918, soon after the end of the war in an airplane crash. The serious illness contracted in the trenches proved resistant to all treatments and his health gradually deteriorated until the death of Prince Luis 1920.[4]

In 1920, the republican government headed by President Epitácio Pessoa lifted the imperial family's banishment. The next year Prince Gaston and Prince Pedro de Alcântara traveled back to Brazil after 31 years of imposed exile for the reburial of the Emperor and the Empress in Cathedral of Petrópolis. Isabel, the Emperor's daughter and heir and de jure Empress of Brazil was too ill to travel and died in this same year. She was the last pure Braganza heir to the Brazilian throne. After her death, the claim passed to her grandson Prince Pedro Henrique of Orléans-Braganza, Luis's eldest son. The following year, Prince Gaston, Count of Eu, eventually died a natural death during a journey that would take him back to Brazil to celebrate the first centenary of independence.

While the rest of the Imperial Family remain living in France, in the early 1930s, Prince Pedro acquired the Grão Pará Palace, a former palace of his family, and moved to Petrópolis, back in Brazil. At the time, his eldest daughter Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza married Henri, count of Paris, heir to the French throne. Prince Pedro died in 1940 in his palace, being the only Prince of Brazil to die back in his fatherland. Her another daughter Princess Maria Francisca of Orléans-Braganza, Duchess of Braganza married Duarte Nuno, Duke of Braganza, heir to the Portuguese throne in 1942.

In 1937, the son of Luís Prince Pedro Henrique marries Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria, granddaughter of Ludwig III, the last King of Bavaria in Germany. They fled the country to avoid the Nazi and went to live in a palace in France where they start to have children. The couple moved to Brazil in 1945 soon after the end of the war giving a definite end to the exile.

Renunciation and DivisionEdit

Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará, styled Prince Imperial of Brazil from the death of his grandfather Pedro II in 1891, to his renunciation in 1908. He was again styled as Prince of Grão-Pará for life.

In 1908, Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará wanted to marry Countess Elisabeth Dobržensky de Dobrženicz[7](1875–1951) who, although a noblewoman of the Kingdom of Bohemia, did not belong to a royal or reigning dynasty. Although the constitution of the Brazilian Empire did not require a dynast to marry equally,[8] his mother ruled that the marriage would not be valid dynastically for the Brazilian succession,[8] and as a result he renounced his rights to the throne of Brazil on 30 October 1908:[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][6] To solemnize this, Dom Pedro, aged thirty-three, signed the document translated here:

I Prince Pedro de Alcântara Luiz Filipe Maria Gastão Miguel Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga of Orléans and Braganza, having maturely reflected, have resolved to renounce the right that, by the Constitution of the Empire of Brazil, promulgated on 25 March 1824, accords to me the Crown of that nation. I declare, therefore, that by my free and spontaneous will I hereby renounce, in my own name, as well as for any and all of my descendants, to all and any rights that the aforesaid Constitution confers upon us to the Brazilian Crown and Throne, which shall pass to the lines which follow mine, conforming to the order of succession as established by article 117. Before God I promise, for myself and my descendants, to hold to the present declaration. Cannes 30 October 1908 signed: Pedro de Alcântara of Orléans-Braganza[16]

This renunciation was followed by a letter from Isabel to royalists in Brazil:[6][17]

9 November 1908, [Castle of] Eu

Most Excellent Gentlemen Members of the Monarchist Directory,

With all my heart I thank you for the congratulations upon the marriages of my dear children Pedro and Luiz. Luis´s took place in Cannes on the 4th with the brilliance that is desired for so solemn an act in the life of my successor to the Throne of Brazil. I was very pleased. Pedro´s shall take place next on the 14th. Before the marriage of Luis he signed his resignation to the crown of Brazil, and here I send it to you, while keeping here an identical copy. I believe that this news must be published as soon as possible (you gentlemen shall do it in the way that you judge to be most satisfactory) in order to prevent the formation of parties that would be a great evil for our country. Pedro will continue to love his homeland, and will give all possible support to his brother. Thank God they are very united. Luis will engage actively in everything with respect to the monarchy and any good for our land. However, without giving up my rights I want that he be up to date on everything so that he may prepare himself for the position which with all my heart I desire that one day he will hold. You may write to him as many times as you may want to so that he shall be informed of everything. My strength is not the same as it once was, but my heart is still the same to love my homeland and all those who are so dedicated to us. I give you all my friendship and confidence,

a) Isabel, comtesse d'Eu

After Prince Pedro's renunciation, he lost every royal title he had and his dynastic rights as heir of his mother passed to his brother, Prince Luís of Orléans-Braganza, who became Prince Imperial of Brazil. However, years later, after Pedro's death in 1940, his eldest son did not accept his father's resignation and again claimed the Brazilian throne in conflict with Prince Pedro Henrique of Orléans-Braganza, son and heir of Prince Luís, dead in 1920. Thus began a dispute for the crown of Brazil. The descendants of Prince Pedro became known as the Petrópolis Branch, and the descendants of Prince Luís as the Vassouras Branch.

The Family Pact of 1909Edit

After the resignation of Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará on 1908 to marry a Bohemian noblewoman, he lost his rights and his titles as Prince of Brazil. To maintain the princely status, his father, Prince Gaston of Orleans, as former member of the French Royal Family sought the head of this dynasty, Prince Philippe, Duke of Orléans.

Recognizing the principle of pérégrinité and therefore the impossibility for foreign princes to claim the crown of France,[18][19] the Orléans claimants and their supporters consider excluded from the succession to the throne the foreign descendants of King Louis-Philippe I: the Brazilian Orléans-Braganza (descendants of the Comte d'Eu) and the Spanish Orléans-Galliera (descendants of Antoine, Duke of Montpensier).[20][21]

The agreement of the family in 1909, known as the "Family Pact" (Pacte de Famille) confirms the exclusion of members of these branches from the succession on grounds of pérégrinité.[21] Further, it "takes note" of a written promise given by the Count of Eu and his son to refrain from asserting any claim to the Crown of France and to the position of Head of the House of France until the total extinction of all the other dynastic branches of the House of France (the Montpensiers were already deemed excluded).[21] According to the pact, the House of France recognized the Brazilian House of Orléans-Braganza as a cadet branch and create to his member the French title of Prince of Orléans-Braganza.

Alfred de Gramont alleged in his diary, L'ami du Prince, journal of a novel, published by Eric Mension Rigau-Fayard in 2011) that this decision was made by the Orléans for two reasons: first, the desire of other dynasts to exclude the Comte d'Eu and the princes of Orléans-Braganza (who became heirs presumptive to the Empire of Brazil), and second, the influence of French nationalism. However, exclusion from the succession as a consequence of permanent emigration to Brazil had been acknowledged and accepted in writing by the Count of Eu prior to his marriage to the Princess Imperial of Brazil.


Vassouras lineEdit

  • Prince Luís of Orléans-Braganza (1878–1920), second son of Princess Isabel, he became Head of the Imperial House of Brazil after her death in 1921.
    • Prince Dom Pedro Henrique of Orléans-Braganza (1909–1981)
      • Prince Dom Luiz of Orléans-Braganza (1938–2022): Eldest son of Prince Dom Pedro Henrique, became Head of the Imperial Family after his death.
      • Prince Eudes of Orléans-Braganza (1939–2020): Renounced his rights of succession to the Brazilian Throne in 1966.
      • Prince Dom Bertrand of Orléans-Braganza (b. 1941) : Became Head of the Imperial Family after Prince Luiz's death.
      • Princess Isabel of Orléans-Braganza (1944–2017)
      • Prince Pedro de Alcântara of Orléans-Braganza (b. 1945): Renounced his rights in 1972.
      • Prince Fernando of Orléans-Braganza (b. 1948): Renounced his rights in 1972.
      • Prince Dom Antônio of Orléans-Braganza (b. 1951)
      • Princess Eleonora of Orléans-Braganza (b. 1953), Princess of Ligne
      • Prince Francisco of Orléans-Braganza (b. 1955): Renounced his rights in 1980.
      • Prince Alberto of Orléans-Braganza (b. 1957): Renounced his rights in 1982.
      • Princess Maria Teresa (b. 1959): Renounced her rights in 1995.
      • Princess Maria Gabriela (b. 1959): Renounced her rights in 2003.
    • Prince Luiz Gastão of Orléans-Braganza (1911–1931).
    • Princess Pia Maria of Orléans-Braganza (1913–2000).

Petrópolis lineEdit


Genealogical tree of the House of Orléans-Braganza, from its origin to the current claimants:

Vassouras lineEdit

The descendants of Prince Luís of Orléans-Braganza

Princess Isabel
Princess Imperial of Brazil
Prince Pedro de Alcântara
Prince of Grão-Pará
Prince of Orléans-Braganza
Prince Luís
Prince Imperial of Brazil
Prince of Orléans-Braganza
Prince Antônio Gastão
Prince of Brazil
Prince of Orléans-Braganza
Prince Pedro Henrique
Prince and Head of the House of Orléans-Braganza
Prince Luiz Gastão
Prince Imperial of Brazil
Prince of Orléans-Braganza
Princess Pia Maria
Princess of Brazil
Princess of Orléans-Braganza
Countess Nicolay
Prince Luiz
Prince and Head of the House of Orléans-Braganza
Prince Bertrand
Prince and Head of the House of Orléans-Braganza
(b. 1941)
Prince Antônio
Prince Imperial of Brazil
Prince of Orléans-Braganza
(b. 1950)
Princess Eleanora
Princess of Brazil
Princess of Ligne
(b. 1953)
Eight more Princes of Orléans-Braganza who renounced their dynastic rights
Prince Rafael Antônio
Prince of Grão-Pará
Prince of Orléans-Braganza
(b. 1986)
Princess Maria Gabriela
Princess of Brazil
Princess of Orléans-Braganza
(b. 1989)

Petrópolis lineEdit

The descendants of Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará

Princess Isabel
Princess Imperial of Brazil
Prince Pedro de Alcântara
Prince of Grão-Pará
Prince of Orléans-Braganza
Prince Luís
Prince Imperial of Brazil
Prince of Orléans-Braganza
Prince Antônio Gastão
Prince of Brazil
Prince of Orléans-Braganza
Princess Isabelle
Princess of Orléans-Braganza
Countess of Paris
Prince Pedro Gastão
Prince of Orléans-Braganza
Princess Maria Francisca
Princess of Orléans-Braganza
Duchess of Braganza
Prince João Maria
Prince of Orléans-Braganza
Princess Teresa Teodora
Princess of Orléans-Braganza
Prince Pedro Carlos
Prince of Orléans-Braganza
(b. 1945)
Princess Maria da Glória
Princess of Orléans-Braganza
former Crown Princess of Yugoslavia
(b. 1946)


Coat of arms Title Tenure
Head of the Imperial Family


Some of the most important Brazilian palaces that were built to the Brazilian Imperial Family to private or governamental use. These palaces were taken by the government of the republic when it was proclaimed.

Most members of the Imperial House live in rented apartments in wealthy neighbourhoods, private mansions or in Europe. Some of them like Eleanora, Princess of Ligne, for having married members of other royal houses live in their palaces.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "15 de novembro de 1889, A República no Brasil". (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 30 July 2022.
  2. ^ Povo, Tiago Cordeiro, especial para a Gazeta do. "Por que ainda existe a família imperial brasileira?". Gazeta do Povo (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 30 July 2022.
  3. ^ Lincolins, Isabela Barreiros, sob supervisão de Thiago (31 August 2021). "A vida da princesa Isabel após o exílio da família imperial". Aventuras na História (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 30 July 2022.
  4. ^ a b Gearini, Victória (13 May 2022). "Do exílio a grave doença: a saga de Luís de Orléans e Bragança, filho da Princesa Isabel". Aventuras na História (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 30 July 2022.
  5. ^ Gearini | @victoriagearini, Victória (29 August 2021). "Príncipe do Grão Pará, o filho da princesa Isabel que desistiu do direito de possivelmente assumir o trono". Aventuras na História (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 30 July 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Romanov Pausini, Adel Igor (May 2017). "De Estado a Civil: As políticas de relações matrimoniais da casa imperial do Brasil e sua legitimação sucessória (1843‐1944)". REVISTA NEP (Núcleo de Estudos Paranaenses) (in Portuguese). Universidade Federal do Paraná. 3 (1): 436–455. doi:10.5380/nep.v3i1.52577.
  7. ^ Villon, Victor. "Elisabeth Dobrzensky "Empress of Brazil"". Royalty Digest Quarterly.
  8. ^ a b Sainty, Guy Stair. "House of Bourbon: Branch of Orléans-Braganza". Chivalric Orders. Archived from the original on 25 October 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2009.
  9. ^ BARMAN, Roderick J., Princesa Isabel do Brasil: gênero e poder no século XIX, UNESP, 2005
  10. ^ VIANNA, Hélio. Vultos do Império. São Paulo: Companhia Editoria Nacional, 1968, p.224
  11. ^ FREYRE, Gilberto. Ordem e Progresso. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 1959, p.517 and 591
  12. ^ LYRA, Heitor. História de Dom Pedro II - 1825-1891. São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional, 1940, vol.III, p.300
  13. ^ Enciclopaedia Barsa, vol. IV, article "Braganza", p.210, 1992
  14. ^ JANOTTI, Maria de Lourdes. Os Subversivos da República. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1986, p.255-7
  15. ^ MALATIAN, Teresa Maria. A Ação Imperial Patrianovista Brasileira. São Paulo, 1978, p.153-9
  16. ^ Montjouvent, Philippe de (1998). Le comte de Paris et sa Descendance (in French). Charenton: Éditions du Chaney. p. 97. ISBN 2-913211-00-3.
  17. ^ Németh-Torres, Geovani (28 July 2008). "A odisséia monarquista no Plebiscito Nacional de 1993". Revista Veredas da História. 1 (1). doi:10.9771/rvh.v1i1.48927. ISSN 1982-4238.
  18. ^ Dumoulin, Charles. Coutumes de Paris. 1576.
  19. ^ de Seyssel, Claude. La Monarchie de France, vol. I.7. Paris, 1961, pp. 112-3.
  20. ^ de Montjouvent, Philippe. Le Comte de Paris et Sa Descendance. Annexes. Du Chaney Eds, Paris, 1998, p. 431. ISBN 2-913211-00-3. French.
  21. ^ a b c de Saisseval, Guy Coutant. La Légitimité monarchique. Paris, 1985. In French.
  22. ^ Bodstein, Astrid (2006). "The Imperial Family of Brazil". Royalty Digest Quarterly (3).
  23. ^ Bernardo Gutiérrez, "La familia real brasileña defiende los nuevos ideales", Príncipes Republicanos (09/01/2008)

External linksEdit

House of Orléans-Braganza
Cadet branch of the House of Orléans
Preceded by
House of Braganza
as the reigning house
Claimant House of the
Brazilian monarchy

Reason for succession failure:
Brazilian monarchy abolished in 1889