Infanta Benedita
Princess of Brazil, Duchess of Braganza (more...)
María Benita de Braganza - Museo del Prado.jpg
Born(1746-07-25)25 July 1746
Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Died18 August 1829(1829-08-18) (aged 83)
Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
SpouseJoseph, Prince of Brazil
Maria Francisca Benedita Ana Isabel Josefa Antónia Lourença Inácia Teresa Gertrudes Rita Joana Rosa de Bragança
FatherJoseph I of Portugal
MotherMariana Victoria of Spain
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Maria Benedita of Braganza (Maria Francisca Benedita Ana Isabel Antónia Lourença Inácia Teresa Gertrudes Rita Rosa; 25 July 1746 – 18 August 1829) was a Portuguese infanta and the youngest daughter of King Joseph I of Portugal and his wife Mariana Victoria of Spain.

Early life

Benedita was born in Lisbon she was named after Pope Benedict XIV. She was well educated. She was educated in music by Davide Perez and in painting by Domingos Sequeira: a panel made by her and her sister can still be seen in the Estrela Basilica.

Crown Princess

On 21 February 1777, she married her nephew, Joseph, Prince of Beira, heir apparent of the heiress presumptive (and proclaimed heir, i.e. her sister Maria) to the throne of Portugal, as the eldest son of the future Queen Maria I. Benedita was an attractive woman of thirty, while Joseph was sixteen. Alberto Pimentel wrote:

“D. Maria Benedicta was still beautiful, and quite intelligent, and understand the energetic and noble soul of her nephew who, for his part, had shown himself since childhood very affectionate towards this sister of his mother. They loved each other because they understood each other."[1]

They had no children, however Benedita miscarried twice: firstly in 1781 and secondly in 1786.

Three days after their wedding, Benedita's father King Joseph died and Maria succeeded him as queen regnant. Infante José became the new crown prince, being given the titles Prince of Brazil and 16th Duke of Braganza. Benedita became crown princess with the title Princess of Brazil.

Later life and death

In 1788, her husband Joseph died and Benedita became Dowager Princess of Brazil, as she was known during the rest of her long life. In contrast to other dowagers, who founded convents and churches, she chose to found the Asylum for the Military Disabled of Runa. She followed the royal family on their exile to Brazil in 1808.

Benedita died in Lisbon and is buried in the national pantheon at the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora. She was the last surviving grandchild of John V of Portugal.



  1. ^ A princesa na sombra : D. Maria Francisca Benedita, 1746-1829 by Paulo Drumond Braga p.98
  2. ^ Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 14.

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