Peter III of Portugal

Dom Peter III (Portuguese: Pedro III,[1] pronounced [ˈpedɾu tɨɾ.ˈsej.ɾu]; 5 July 1717 – 25 May 1786), nicknamed the Builder, was King of Portugal from 24 February 1777 to his death in 1786 as the co-ruler of his wife and niece, Queen Dona Maria I.[2]

Peter III
Portrait of Infante Pedro (future King Pedro III) - Attributed to Vieira Lusitano - Google Cultural Institute (cropped).jpg
Portrait by Vieira Lusitano, c. 1760-70.
King of Portugal
Reign24 February 1777 – 25 May 1786
SuccessorMaria I (as sole monarch)
Co-monarchMaria I
Born(1717-07-05)5 July 1717
Lisbon, Portugal
Died25 May 1786(1786-05-25) (aged 68)
Queluz, Portugal
SpouseMaria I of Portugal
(m. 1760)
see details...
FatherJohn V of Portugal
MotherMaria Anna of Austria
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Early lifeEdit

Infante Peter while Lord of the Infantado, 1745.

Pedro was born at 12:00 noon on 5 July 1717 in the Ribeira Palace in Lisbon, Portugal.[3] He was baptized on 29 August and was given the name Pedro Clemente Francisco José António.[4] His parents were King João V and his wife Maria Ana of Austria.[3] Pedro was a younger brother of José I of Portugal. Their maternal grandparents were Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Eleonor Magdalene of Neuburg, sister of Queen Maria Sofia of Portugal.


Pedro married his niece Maria, Princess of Brazil, in 1760, at which time she was the heiress presumptive to the throne then held by his brother José I. According to custom, Pedro thus became king of Portugal in right of his wife, after the delivery of his first born child. They had six children, of whom the eldest surviving son succeeded Maria as João VI on her death in 1816.

Pedro made no attempt to participate in government affairs, spending his time hunting or in religious exercises.

He also defended the high nobility of Portugal, and sponsored the petitions of those accused in Távora affair, whose rehabilitation was subject of new lawsuits, in which the heirs demanded the restitution of their confiscated properties.

Peter III was moderately friendly toward the Jesuits, who had been banished from Portugal and its overseas empire in 1759, largely at the behest of the Marquis of Pombal. Peter III had taken some of his early education from the Jesuits, explaining this. His affection had little effect; Pope Clement XIV ordered the Jesuits suppressed across Europe in 1773.

Marriage and issueEdit

The couple married on 6 June 1760. At the time of their marriage, Maria was 25 and Pedro was 42. Despite the age gap, the couple had a happy marriage. Peter automatically became co-monarch (as Pedro III of Portugal) when Maria ascended the throne, as a child had already been born from their marriage. The couple had six children and a stillborn baby.

Royal styles of
King Pedro III of Portugal
Reference styleHis Most Faithful Majesty
Spoken styleYour Most Faithful Majesty
Alternative styleSire
Effigy of Maria I and Peter III, 1785
Name Birth Death Notes
José, Prince of Brazil 20 August 1761 11 September 1788 José Francisco Xavier de Paula Domingos António Agostinho Anastácio married Infanta Benedita of Portugal and had no issue. His death lead to his younger brother becoming heir-apparent and later king.
João de Bragança 20 October 1762 20 October 1762 João was a still born baby, born at the Ajuda National Palace.
João Francisco de Bragança 16 September 1763 10 October 1763 João Francisco de Paula Domingos António Carlos Cipriano was born at the Ajuda National Palace.
João VI 13 May 1767 10 March 1826 João Maria José Francisco Xavier de Paula Luís António Domingos Rafael married Carlota Joaquina of Spain and had issue. He was King of Portugal and Emperor of Brazil.
Mariana Victoria de Bragança 15 December 1768 2 November 1788 Maria Ana Vitória Josefa Francisca Xavier de Paula Antonieta Joana Domingas Gabriela married Infante Gabriel of Spain and had issue.
Maria Clementina de Bragança 9 June 1774 27 June 1776 Maria Clementina Francisca Xavier de Paula Ana Josefa Antónia Domingas Feliciana Joana Michaela Julia de Bragança was born at the Queluz National Palace.
Maria Isabel de Bragança 12 December 1776 14 January 1777 Maria Isabel was born at the Queluz National Palace.



  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Volume 17 1973 Page 518 "Pedro III (1717-1786), king-consort from 1777, was born in Lisbon on July 5, 1717, the younger son of John V of Portugal. He was married in July 1760 to the daughter of his elder brother, King Joseph I."
  2. ^ David Birmingham A Concise History of Portugal 2003 Page 205 "Pedro III 1777-86"
  3. ^ a b Sousa 1741, Vol VIII, p. 369.
  4. ^ Sousa 1741, Vol VIII, p. 370.
  5. ^ Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 13.


  • Sousa, António Caetano de. História genealógica da Casa Real portuguesa (in Portuguese). Vol. VIII. Lisbon: Silviana.
Peter III of Portugal
Cadet branch of the House of Aviz
Born: 5 July 1717 Died: 25 May 1786
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Portugal
24 February 1777 – 25 May 1786
with Maria I
Succeeded byas sole monarch
Portuguese royalty
Preceded by Lord of the House of the Infantado
Duke of Beja

5 July 1717 – 6 July 1760
Succeeded by