Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil (1846-1921) and Prince Gaston of Orléans

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Aug 13, 2004
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Isabel 'The Redeemer' Cristina Leopoldina Augusta Micaela Gabriela Rafaela Gonzaga, Princess Imperial of Brazil, de jure Empress D. Isabel I of Brazil (Rio de Janeiro 29 July 1846 – Eu, 14 November 1921); married in Rio de Janeiro on 15 October 1864 Prince Louis Philippe Marie Ferdinand Gaston d'Orléans, Prince Imperial-Consort of Brazil, Count of Eu (Neuilly-sur-Seine, 28 April 1842 - on the Atlantic Ocean, 28 August 1922)

Children: Princess Luisa of Brazil; Prince Pedro de Alcântara of Brazil, Prince of Grão Pará; Prince Luíz of Brazil and Prince Antonio of Brazil

Parents Isabel: Emperor Pedro II of Brazil and Princess Teresa of the Two Sicilies

Parents Gaston: Prince Louis of France, Duke of Nemours and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Kohary

Siblings Isabel: Afonso Pedro Prince of Grão Pará and Prince Imperial of Brazil; Princess Leopoldine of Saxe-Coburg-Kohary and Pedro, Prince of Grão Pará and Prince Imperial of Brazil

Siblings Gaston: Prince Ferdinand of Orléans; Duke of Alençon; Princess Marguerite Czartoryski and Princess Blanche of Orléans
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Isabel The Redeemer, Princess Imperial of Brazil, de jure Empress D. Isabel I of Brazil (Isabel Cristina Leopoldina Augusta Micaela Gabriela Rafaela Gonzaga de Bragança; 29 July184614 November1921), nicknamed the Redeemer, was the heir to the throne of Brazil, with the title of Princess Imperial during the last decades of the reign of her father Pedro II, and sometime Regent. After the end of the monarchy, she became Head of the Brazilian Imperial House and de jure Empress of Brazil.
She acted as regent of Brazil three times while her father was away from the country. In the political history of Brazil she was the first female ruler in the post-colonial period. In 1888 she signed the Law establishing the total abolition of slavery in the Empire. For her pious character and her role in the abolition of slavery in Brazil, Pope Leo XIII bestowed the Golden Rose upon her. In 1889 the Brazilian military overthrew Pedro II along with the monarchy ending her chance at a permanent succession. She died on 14 November1921 while living in Chateau d'Eu, France.

Isabel was born as the eldest surviving child of Emperor Dom Pedro II and Princess Teresa of the Two Sicilies, herself the youngest daughter of King Francis I of the Two Sicilies, in the Paço de São Cristóvão, Quinta da Boa Vista, Rio de Janeiro, on 29 July1846. Her elder brother had died as an infant before Isabel's birth, and a younger brother also died as an infant. As the imperial couple had only daughters living, dom Pedro designated Isabel, the heir presumptive as the official heiress (although she was not heir apparent in the strictest sense of that concept) whereby she received the titles Princess Imperial and Princess of Brazil already in the lifetime of her father.
Isabel married on 15 October1864, Prince Gastão d' Orléans, Count of Eu (1842–1922) - Louis Philippe Marie Ferdinand Gaston, Prince d'Orleans, comte d'Eu, son of Louis Charles Philippe Raphael, duc de Nemours, a cadet prince of the house of Orleans.
Her only surviving sibling, her younger sister Princess Leopoldina of Brazil married Prince August of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Originally, the two princes were imported to Brazil in order for August to marry Isabel and Gaston to marry Leopoldina, but the girls decided otherwise and the emperor, having himself experienced the unhappiness of an arranged dynastic marriage, agreed to their wishes.

Read the entire wikipedia article here.
Louis Philippe Marie Ferdinand Gaston d'Orléans, Prince Imperial-Consort of Brazil, Count d'Eu (28 April 1842-28 August 1922) was the eldest son of Louis Charles Philippe Raphael, duc de Nemours and Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Kohary.
On 15 October 1864, at Rio de Janeiro, he married Isabel of Brazil, eldest daughter and heiress (Princess Imperial) of Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil. Two months later, the Paraguayan dictator Francisco Solano López declared war on Brazil, and the War of the Triple Alliance began. The Count d'Eu aspired to a military command, but the emperor was reluctant to give his unexperienced son-in-law a prominent position in the army. Only at the last stage of the war, on 20 February 1869, he appointed him commander-in-chief of the Brazilian forces. On 22 March the Count became supreme commander of the allied Brazilian, Argentinian and Uruguayan armies in Paraguay. He turned out to be an able commander and brought the war to a successful end.

When the Brazilian monarchy was overthrown in 1889, the emperor went into exile with his family. But in 1922, as part of the commemoration of the first centennial of the country's independence, the Brazilian government rescinded the exile law imposed by the new Republican government in 1889 and allowed the imperial family to return. Isabel was newly deceased, and her husband Gaston, having embarked on a ship to Brazil, died onboard.
Isabel and Gaston's children and issue use the name Orléans-Braganza, and are the claimants to the Brazilian imperial throne.

Read the entire wikipedia article here.
Isabel Orleans-Braganza: The Brazilian Princess Who Freed the Slaves
This is a biography of Isabel Orleans-Braganza, daughter of the last emperor of Brazil.
At a time when the voices of women went mostly unheard, Orleans-Braganza was a skilled and vocal politician. She was also a determined abolitionist, committed to peacefully ending slavery in the country that first introduced slavery to America. Thrust into the political spotlight after the death of her two brothers and illness of her father, Orleans-Braganza became acting head of state just as revolution was sweeping the country. She soon found herself in a race to save the constitutional government and free the nation's slaves before a coup d'etat ended her time in power.

His previous book, Isabel Orleans-Braganza -The Brazilian Princess Who Freed the Slaves, was nominated for Yale University’s Frederick Douglass Book Prize for the “Most outstanding non-fiction book in English on the subject of slavery and abolition.” - Source
Marengo, It was interesting to learn that Princess Isabel was to marry Prince August of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and her sister, Princess Leopoldina was to marry Prince Gaston.
It was nice that Emperor Dom Pedro II did not force his daughters to marry the Prince who had been previously selected. :empireofbrazil:

Isabel's father excluded her from all discussions of politics and did not take her on trips or to political meetings.
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Isabel's father excluded her from all discussions of politics and did not take her on trips or to political meetings.

That's not true, it's a lie spreaded by historians of republican and marxist formation.

The Princess Imperial was perfectly well trained to be an outstanding Empress. As a child, she received nine hours of instrunction each day and she was Regent for three long periods of time. The Emperor also wrote long letters to her, giving instrunctions.

(I'm a History Professor at the Federal Fluminense University, specialized in the 19th century Brazil)
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I didn't know the Princess Imperial's reputation suffered so much at the hands of republican historians. I had the impression the Emperor made sure that she not only received a thorough education, but also learnt the ins and outs of government under his guidance. In one of the English biographies of the Princess Imperial, I remember regular references to discussions about the "third reign" and interesting quotes from the Emperor's instructive letters while the Princess Imperial acted as Regent.

I did get the impression, however, that Dom Pedro II, after the death of his sons, was almost indifferent to the future of the monarchy. While he made sure the Princess Imperial was thoroughly prepared to reign, in his heart he did not think Brazilians would ever accept a reigning Empress. I once asked a Brazilian monarchist if the monarchy might have survived if the Princess Imperial had stepped aside for her son, the Prince of Grão-Pará. Would a male heir apparent have helped? He did not think so, and said that there was little hope for the Prince of Grão-Pará anyway as he was not really a Bragança, and only a "full blooded" Bragança was acceptable to the Brazilian elite. What do you think Cris M, was the Orleans name really such a problem?

Getting a bit off track now, but I wonder if Dom Pedro II and the Princess Imperial will get a feature in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in 2016. You know, in the artistic and cultural part where historical themes and figures are often featured. I hope they do.

Biographies in English of the Princess Imperial:

Isabel Orleans-Braganza: The Brazilian Princess Who Freed the Slaves

Princess Isabel of Brazil: Gender and Power in the Nineteenth Century
The entire Imperial Family - and the Portuguese Royal Family also - has suffered at the hands of republican and socialist historian, with the exception of Empress Teresa Cristina, who was almost a saint - the result is that she's now known as the Forgotten or the Silencious Empress; although she was known as the Mother of the Brazilians back in her day.

And I never really believed that the Emperor's was indifferent to the future of the Monarchy, as he really invested on preparing the Princess Imperial to reign and even brought his grandsons - sons of Princess Leopoldina - to Brazil, because everyone thought the Princess Imperial was infertile, as it took her ten years to have children.

Emperor Pedro II was an admirer of the Republic in it's broader sense. He admire the "res publica" - the "public thing". In that sense, the Empire of Brazil was more of a republic than it's southern american neighbour - in fact, the Empire of Brazil was more of a republic than the Federative Republic of Brazil where I live.

About the possibility of a Third Reign, every impartial historian will say that an Empress Isabel would be much better than the first thirty years of Republic - which was marked by a military dictatorship, social unrest and economical collapse. And thing haven't got better since, as we had an fascist dictatorship, another military dictatorship and now the country is heading to a Communist one.

Regarding the Prince of Grão-Pará, I don't think being half an Orleans was the worst part of him being an Emperor. The real problem was that he was not fit for the role, something his parents noticed since he was a child. His brother, Prince Luiz, was much more suitable to be a Monarch; so the unequal marriage thing was an excuse Princess Isabel found to make Prince Luiz her heir, and I can assure you that Prince Pedro de Alcantara was more than happy to lose his rights to the Throne.

About the Olympics, I believe we'll see references to Empire. Since 2008 - the year we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the Portuguese Royal Family in Brazil - our historical royals are receiving much more attention, in a positive way. More and more historians are now saying good things about the Monarchy, which was almost unthinkable 10-15 years ago.

Next year, we'll celebrate the 190th anniversary of Emperor Pedro II. And in 2016 it'll be the 170th anniversary of Princess Isabel.
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Thanks for the background information, Cris M. I remember now reading something about concerns over the suitability of the Prince of Grão-Pará. It is good that the monarchy is getting more positive attention now. Considering the disastrous regimes that followed 1889, it shouldn't be that hard to see the benefits of the old empire. But, of course, there will always be someone trying to play down the successes of Dom Pedro II to bolster some idealogical crusade. I became interested in the Imperial House of Brazil when I first read about the Portuguese Royal Family's arrival in 1808. The uniqueness of the story captured my imagination, and it is one of the monarchies I would most like to see restored.

In 1993, before the internet had really taken off, I relied on Point de Vue for information on most Royal Houses. So I knew a referendum was going to take place in the first half of 1993, but I was not sure exactly when. In March I rang the Brazilian Embassy in Canberra to find out. I was put through to the Third Secretary and we had a very interesting discussion. She told me that the referendum was scheduled for April. I asked if she thought the monarchy had a chance, and she said anything was possible. We also talked a bit about the Princess Imperial and the signing of the Golden Law. She then added "you know, our Imperial Family is far more royal than the British Royal Family", and told me to call back in April for the results.

When I first heard that the monarchy received just over 13 per cent of the vote, I was disappointed. But that still amounted to nearly seven million votes, in the face of some pretty dirty republican tricks to undermine the monarchy, and a century of republican propaganda. So things could have gone a lot worse. Around that time I also wrote to Dom Luiz Gastão and received a very nice card in reply.
Did Gaston d'Orleans have the title of Prince Imperial of Brazil?
He never did. Some people like the
Isabel around age 5, c. 1851. This is likely the first photograph ever taken of the princess.
He never did. Some people like the princesses preceptor and empress Amélia told several times to the emperor to give a brazilian title to prince gaston. Princess Isabel always signed her name as Princess Isabel, Countess of Eu.
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