Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Birthday of the Eventual Brazilian Heir: Prince Rafael Turns Thirty-Three

Today, Prince Rafael of Brazil, Prince of Orléans-Braganza, celebrates his 33rd birthday.

Prince Rafael of Brazil
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil

Rafael Antonio Maria José Francisco Miguel Gabriel Gonzaga de Orléans e Bragança e Ligne was born at Rio de Janiero on 24 April 1986. His parents, Prince Antônio of Brazil (b.1950) and Princess Christine of Ligne (b.1955), had married civilly on 25 September and religiously on 26 September 1981 at Belœil, Belgium. Prince Rafael's paternal grandparents are Prince Pedro Henrique of Brazil (1909-1981) and Princess Maria of Bavaria (1914-2011); his maternal grandparents are Antoine, Prince of Ligne (1925-2005), and Princess Alix of Luxembourg (1929-2019). Rafael grew up in Rio with his parents and three siblings: Prince Pedro Luíz (1983-2009), Princess Amélia (b.1984), and Princess Maria Gabriela (b.1989). Prince Pedro Luíz died aged twenty-six as a passenger aboard the crash of Air France Flight 447 on 1 June 2009. Princess Amélia married Alexander James Spearman (b.1984) in 2014.

Prince Rafael with his father Prince Antônio
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil

Prince Rafael attended the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, where he graduated with a degree in production engineering. As his elder sister Amélia resides in Spain and his younger sister Maria Gabriela lives in Belgium, while Rafael resides in London, none of the children of Prince Antônio and Princess Christine live in Brazil.

Rafael (left) with his siblings Maria Gabriela, Amélia, and Pedro Luíz

The Head of the Brazilian Imperial House is Prince Luíz Gastão (b.1938), Rafael's uncle. Prince Rafael is third in line to the Headship of House Brazil after his uncle Prince Bertrand (b.1941) and his father Prince Antônio. This is due to the fact that Rafael's two uncles (Luíz Gastão and Bertrand) and one aunt (Isabel [1944-2017]) never married, and that his father's three older brothers, Eudes, Pedro de Alcântara, and Fernando, all married morganatically. Prince Rafael is followed in the line of succession by his younger sister Maria Gabriella, and then by his aunt Princess Leonor (b.1953) and her son from her marriage to Michel, Prince of Ligne (b.1951): Prince Henri (b.1989). Leonor's daughter Princess Alix of Ligne (b.1984) lost her dynastic rights after her 2016 marriage to Count Guillaume de Dampierre. Prince Rafael and his siblings are double-first cousins to Prince Henri and Princess Alix of Ligne, as their Brazilian parents (Antônio and Leonor) married siblings (Christine and Michel). 

Prince Antônio and Princess Christine of Brazil
Photograph (c) Pró Monarquia

Currently, Prince Rafael of Brazil works for AmBev in São Paolo. For a time, Rafael was in a relationship with Talita Vaccaro; however, the couple are now just friends. Under the current rules of to the Imperial House, Prince Rafael will have to marry an equal spouse in order to retain his dynastic place. 



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