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King Carlos I


Carlos Fernando Luís Maria Victor Miguel Rafael Gabriel Gonzaga Xavier Francisco de Assis José Simão de Bragança Savoie Bourbon and Saxen-Coburg-Gotha, was the penultimate King of Portugal. He was born in Lisbon, at Ajuda Palace, on 28 September 1863 and died in the same city at Terreiro do Paço on 1 February 1908.

He was the son of King Luís I and Maria Pia of Savoy.

His reign lasted from October 19, 1889 until February 1, 1908 and was characterised by constant political crises and consequent popular unrest.

He was assassinated at Terreiro do Paço in Lisbon on 1 February 1908.

During his reign there were also rebellions in the overseas colonies, from Guinea to Timor.

Carlos distinguished himself as a talented painter and a scientist, with a particular interest in oceanography.

He developed a deep friendship with Albert I of Monaco, who shared his fascination with the ocean. As a consequence of this ‘alliance’ the Vasco da Gama Aquarium was born, which was intended to fulfil a similar role in Portugal as that of the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco.

He was also a gifted farmer, having turned around the century-old properties of the House of Braganza, producing wine, olive oil, cork and other products. He also built up a fine bull-breeding ranch and incentivised the preservation of the highly regarded Alter horse.

A great appreciator of the technologies that were beginning to emerge at the start of the 20th century, he installed electric light in the Necessidades Palace and drew up plans for also supplying the streets of Lisbon with electricity.

He was also a lover of photography and the author of the Royal Family photographic album.

He earned the name The Diplomat due to the many visits he made across Europe.

It was on one of his visits to Europe that he met his future wife, the French princess Amélie of Orleans. After a brief courtship, they married in Lisbon at the Church of São Domingos (Saint Dominic’s) on 22 May 1886.

They had 3 children:

Luís Filipe, in 1885 (heir to the throne, assassinated alongside his father)
Maria Ana de Bragança, in 1888
Manuel, in 1889 (Future king Manuel II, last king of Portugal)

It is alleged that he also fathered an illegitimate daughter, Maria Pia de Saxen-Coburgo and Bragança de Laredo in 1907.

As far as the  Monastery of Batalha is concerned, Carlos ordered the construction of three neo-gothic tombs to place the remains of King Afonso V and his wife, King João II and Prince Afonso, due to the fact that their original resting places had been significantly damaged by Napoleon’s troops.

His orders were followed and the three tombs can be seen at the eastern wall of the Founder’s Chapel.

He was laid to rest in the Pantheon of the Braganzas in the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora in Lisbon, beside his son, who was also assassinated.