Princes of BeiraArms of the Prince of Beira
Prince of Beira is a title in Portugal, normally given to the second heirs to the throne and/or to the eldest daughter of the monarch. It was thus attributed to persons of the royal family especially esteemed by the sovereign. The name has its origins in the Beira, a region in central Portugal.
The title was presumably created (no records of its earlier existence or grants) by King John IV of Portugal, the new monarch, first of the Braganza dynasty, sometime in 1640's. It was firstly given to his eldest surviving daughter, Infanta Joanna of Portugal, 1st Princess of Beira. It was king John's intention that the male heir apparent would be Prince of Brazil and later also Duke of Braganza, whereas Princess of Beira was originally quite similar to that of Madame Royale in the French kingdom and Princess Royal in the United Kingdom. The title had no original connection to being one for next heirs of the throne - King John had a second son, and soon a third, but the daughter kept Beira and the boys received dukedoms (Braganza and Beja). However, Joanna died young in 1653.
Afterwards, the title kept granted and regranted a myriad of times during the remaining Portuguese monarchy. However, the precedent of being granted to the monarch's eldest daughter in a situation where he had several living sons, was repeated some times in later centuries.
The title's first connection with the position of the heir was from 1669 onwards, when it was held by to Infanta Isabel Luísa, Princess of Beira (1669-90), the only then living child of king Peter II. She received it as the eldest daughter of the king, but as she also was the heiress presumptive until 1688, a new tradition got its groundwork.
According to the first tradition, the next holder would be infanta Barbara of Portugal (1711-58), the eldest daughter of Joseph I. In 1729, she married with Infante Fernando of Spain, the Prince of Asturias.
Then, in December 17, 1734 the title was created anew by king John V of Portugal, in favour of his new-born eldest granddaughter Infanta Maria Francisca. She was the eldest daughter of the heir-apparent of the monarch. This was the first time when it was granted two generations down from the monarch. As the future Joseph I (the then Prince of Brazil) was to remain without sons, the new Princess of Beira would later become the proclaimed heiress and ultimately to ascend the throne.
In 1750 the newly-ascended Joseph I (believing that no sons would be forthcoming - and indeed, his wife and he produced no further issue after 1746, as we truly know with hindsight) proclaimed his eldest daughter the official heiress and granted her the "crown-princely" title Princess of Brazil (but apparently not that Duke of Braganza). He in 1761 further granted Maria's eldest son, Infante Dom José Francisco (1761-88) the title Prince of Beira. For the first time, the title was held by a male.
This created a new tradition. The situation now, effectively, was that the king's official heir held the Princedom of Brazil, and Prince of Beira was Brazil's heir-apparent. The situation had been the same (though unintentionally) during 1734-50, when the monarch's heir-apparent was Prince of Brazil, and Brazil's obvious heir was Princess of Beira. This was to repeat afterwards, as monarchs granted Beira to the second heir-apparent always when it was possible.
(The fashion how the titles Duke of Braganza and Prince of Brazil was held, is quite identical with that of Duchy of Cornwall and of Rothesay in the UK. The male heir apparent received it when the relevant parent ascended the throne, or if the title was vacant, at birth. During 1645-1822, the Prince of Brazil always belonged to the heir apparent of the throne, who also received the Duke of Braganza. In 1750 though, Brazil -but not Braganza- was specifically granted to the female heiress, as she was proclaimed the official successor.)
The future John VI himself never became Prince of Beira - he became directly Prince of Brazil and duke of Braganza at the death of his elder brother.
According to the first tradition, the next holder of Beira would be Infanta Mariana Vitória of Portugal (1768-88), the eldest daughter of Maria I and Pedro III. She deceased two months after her eldest brother. In 1785, she married with Infante Gabriel of Spain (1752-88) whom she pedeceased by some weeks. Their three children were granted Infantes of Portugal in addition to that of Spain by their grandmother. Others going extinct, the eldest son, Infante Pedro Carlos of Spain and Portugal (1786-1812) married his Portuguese cousin Teresa, Princess of Beira, and left issue (see below).
Queen Maria II and his regent, the future John VI, granted the Beira in turn to John's heirs-apparent, and the second of them, Infante Dom Pedro Francisco survived to become in 1816 the Prince of Brazil, the last Portuguese heir-apparent to held that (as he himself later made Brazil independent).
John VI followed the first tradition also, and Beira was granted to his eldest daughter infanta dona Maria Teresa, firstly wife of her short-lived cousin Infante Pedro Carlos of Spain and Portugal and secondly of the first Carlist pretender, Infante don Carlos of Spain. Teresa's only child was her son with Pedro Carlos, Infante don Sebastian of Spain and Portugal (1811-75), from whom the dukes of Marchena, Durcal, Ansola and Hernani descend.
In the second tradition, when born in 1821, the then Prince of Brazil's eldest son João Carlos was granted Beira in 1821 after birth, he being the third in heir-apparent line, but he died next year, some months before Brazil's secession. Emperor Pedro's next son, born in 1825, received no title from Portugal.
According to the first tradition, the next holder would be Infanta Maria da Glória Joana (1819-53), the eldest daughter of Pedro IV. She however ascended the throne in 1826 as Maria II.
The second-tradition based need arose only in 1887, when Infante Dom Luís Filipe was born in the last years of his grandfather Luís I's reign. Luís Filipe was Prince of Beira 1887-89 and then succeeded his own father, the new king, as crown prince, becoming 21st Duke of Braganza.
No records available to show that Saxe-Coburg dynasty continued to grant Beira to daughters. (Maria II's eldest daughter, Maria Ana of Portugal, 1843-84, married George, Crown Prince of Saxony. No other monarch had legitimate daughters.)
King Miguel's line would have had:
- Maria das Neves (1852-1941), his eldest daughter; the Duchess of San Jaime
- Maria Teresa (1881-1945), Miguel the younger's eldest daughter; Princess of Thurn und Taxis
- Maria Francisca (born 1997), Duarte the younger's eldest daughter
- Miguel the younger (1853-1927) was heir-apparent 1853-66
- Miguel the youngest (1878-1923, renounced 1920, non-dynastic marriage 1909) was heir-apparent from 1878, until early 1900's
- Duarte the elder (1907-76) was almost from birth intended for heir-apparent (1909-27), as his elder half-brother already then made the marriage
- Duarte the younger (born 1945) was heir-apparent 1945-76
- Afonso (born 1996) is heir apparent from birth
Princes of Beira
- 1645-53 Infanta Joana of Portugal (1636-53), the eldest surviving daughter when her father John IV of Portugal gained the throne, and was subsequently created Princess of Beira in 1653. Unmarried and childless, she died later in the same year. (Her eldest brother Teodósio, 1634-53, had analogously in 1645 been created Prince of Brazil)
- 1653 Infanta Catarina Henriqueta (1638-1705), created 2nd Princess of Beira upon the death of her elder sister. Queen consort of England, Scotland etc 1662-85, Regent of Portugal 1704-05
- 1683-90 Infanta Isabel Luísa, Princess of Beira (1668-90), the only child of the first marriage of Pedro II of Portugal. Unmarried and childless, though "all the time betrothed".
- 1711-28 Infanta Maria Madalena Barbara Teresa Xaviera Leonor Antonia Josefa (1711-58), 4th Princess of Beira
- 1734-50 Infanta Dona Maria (1734-1816) 5th princess of Beira when the eldest daughter of the Prince of Brazil, 1750-77 Princess of Brazil herself
- 1761-77 José of Bragança when the eldest son of the Princess of Brazil, also Duke of Braganza and Prince of Brazil (1761-1788), 1777-88 prince of Brazil
- 1793 Princess Teresa of Portugal (1793-1874), the eldest daughter of king John VI of Portugal, created 7th Princess of Beira upon her birth
- 1795-1801 Francisco António (1795-1801), 8th Prince of Beira when the eldest son and heir of the Prince of Brazil, the future king John VI of Portugal
- 1802-16 Infante Dom Pedro (1798-1834) 9th Prince of Beira when the eldest surviving son and heir of the Prince of Brazil, from 1816 prince of Brazil himself, then emperor of the same Ilk
- 1819 Infanta Dona Maria da Glória (1819-53), the eldest daughter of the then Prince of Brazil (the future Pedro I), created 10th Princess of Beira upon her birth
- 1821-22 Infante Dom João Carlos (1821-22), the eldest son and heir of the then Prince of Brazil (Pedro I), created 12th Prince of Beira (in 1820 he had a stillborn elder brother, apparently theoretically the 11th Beira)
- 1887-89 Luis Filipe, Duke of Braganza (1887-1908) was created 13th Prince of Beira as the eldest son and heir of the then Duke of Braganza, the crown prince
- Portuguese Royal House Official Site