Friday, February 28, 2020

The Lost Princess of Brazil: Maria de Orleans e Bragança

Pedro Henrique and Maria Elisabeth
Among royal genealogy enthusiasts, Prince Pedro Henrique of Orleans-Bragança and Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria are well-known for the large family they produced. The couple married in 1937. Between the years 1938 and 1959, Pedro Henrique and Maria Elisabeth welcomed thirteen children, including one set of twins.

Death certificate of Princess Maria of Orleans-Bragança
However, it was only last year that the existence of the thirteenth child, a daughter, was discovered. On 28 September 1946, Princess Maria of Orleans-Bragança was born at Rio de Janeiro. Maria was her parents' sixth child and second daughter. Sadly, Maria died the day she was born, after living only ten hours. The princess was born prematurely as a result of placenta praevia, which resulted in her death. Maria was buried at the Cemitério São João Baptista in Rio. She was the second of her parents' offspring to be born in Brazil.

The Brazilian imperial couple with their first five children.
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil
The discovery of Maria's existence was made by Samuel Duarte Cavalcante Filho, which he then kindly shared with other genealogists. Dino Sobral then provided the information on a forum devoted to royal and noble genealogy. Thank you very much to both Samuel and Dino for bringing this to light.

Pedro Henrique and Maria Elisabeth with their twelve surviving children.
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil
As a recap, Prince Pedro Henrique and Princess Maria Elisabeth of Orleans-Bragança, who might have been the Emperor and Empress of Brazil, were the parents of thirteen children in total:

  1. Prince Luíz Gastão (b.1938)
  2. Prince Eudes (b.1939)
  3. Prince Bertrand (b.1941)
  4. Princess Isabel (1944 - 2017)
  5. Prince Pedro (b.1945)
  6. Princess Maria (1946 - 1946)
  7. Prince Fernando (b.1948)
  8. Prince Antônio (b.1950)
  9. Princess Leonor (b.1953)
  10. Prince Francisco (b.1955)
  11. Prince Alberto (b.1957)
  12. Princess Maria Tereza (b.1959)
  13. Princess Maria Gabriela (b.1959)

Twenty-one years separate the birth of Prince Luíz, the current Head of the Imperial House, and his twin sisters, Princesses Tereza and Lelli.

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