A period cartoon, showing the conflict between the Two Brothers, as children, supported and instigated, respectively, by the French King Louis Philippe I, representing the liberal side, and Czar Nicholas I of Russia, representing the anti-liberalist Holy Alliance[1]

In the history of Portugal, a Miguelist (Portuguese: Miguelista) is a supporter of the legitimacy of the king Miguel I of Portugal and his descendants.

Miguel was regent for his niece Queen Maria II of Portugal, and potential royal consort. However, he claimed the Portuguese throne in his own right on the grounds that the "Fundamental Laws of the Kingdom" deprived his elder brother Pedro IV of his right to reign (and of any right of Pedro's daughter to inherit the kingdom from her father) when Pedro became sovereign of the former Portuguese colony of Brazil and launched war on Portugal to oust Miguel as a usurper.

This overall led to a political crisis, during which many people were killed, imprisoned, persecuted or sent into exile, culminating in the Portuguese Liberal Wars between authoritarian Miguelists (led by Miguel) and progressive Constitutionalists (led by Pedro).

In the end, Miguel was forced from the throne and lived the last 32 years of his life in exile.

Miguelism is based not only on the premise that Miguel and his line have legitimate right to the Portuguese throne, but also on defense of the traditional principles of a conservative monarchy based in Catholic values and in the power of the king above the Constituition, in contrast to the Enlightenment values.

Miguelist Braganzas

King Miguel I was exiled following the Convention of Evora-Monte (1834), which put an end to the Liberal Wars. The throne was retaken by his niece, Queen Maria II, and a liberal regime was installed.

In exile, the former king married a wealthy Bavarian princess, Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. This marriage was the origin of the new Miguelist branch of the Braganzas and their descendants include not only the current claimant to the Portuguese crown, as well as the monarchs of Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and other claimants to former European monarchies (Habsburg, Habsburg-Este, Savoy, Wittelsbach, Bourbon-Parma, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Karađorđević).

Finally, this Miguelist branch became the sole Braganza representative when King Manuel II of Portugal (the last male Braganza from the senior liberal branch) died without issue, leaving his Miguelist cousin Duarte Nuno as his closest legitimate Portuguese relative. Also Maria Pia of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Braganza, who claimed to be the illegitimate daughter of King Carlos I of Portugal, claimed the right to the titles of Duchess of Braganza and to be the rightful Queen of Portugal.[2]

Miguelist claimants to the throne

Claimant Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Miguel I
26 October 1802, Lisbon
son of João VI
and Carlota Joaquina of Spain
Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg
24 September 1851
7 children
14 November 1866
aged 64
Miguel, Duke of Braganza
19 September 1853, Kleinheubach
son of Miguel I
and Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg
Elisabeth of Thurn and Taxis
17 October 1877
3 children
Maria Theresa of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg
8 November 1893
8 children
11 October 1927
aged 74
Duarte Nuno, Duke of Braganza
(Miguelist claimant)
(Royalist claimant)
23 September 1907, Seebenstein
son of Miguel, Duke of Braganza
and Maria Theresa of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg
Maria Francisca of Orléans-Braganza
15 October 1942
3 children
24 December 1976
aged 69
Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza
15 May 1945
son of Duarte Nuno, Duke of Braganza
and Maria Francisca of Orléans-Braganza
Isabel, Duchess of Braganza
13 May 1995
3 children

Genealogical chart

On the family tree below, the Miguelist branch is clearly identified on the right-hand side while the Liberal Branch from Maria II is on the left with the Brazilian Imperial branch descending from her brother Pedro II in the middle. In 1942 the Miguelist pretender Duarte Nuno of Braganza married Maria Francisca de Orléans e Bragança, a great-granddaughter of Pedro II of Brazil. The current pretender Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza, is therefore descended from both of the feuding brothers Pedro IV of Portugal and Miguel I of Portugal.

John VI
King of the United Kingdom of
Portugal, Brazil & the Algarves
King of Portugal & the Algarves 1822–26
Titular Emperor of Brazil 1825–26
Pedro I of Brazil
and IV of Portugal

Emp. of Brazil 1822–31
King of Portugal 1826
Miguel I
Regent (to his niece) 1828
King of Portugal 1828–34
Maria II
Queen of Portugal
1826–28, 1834–53
Fernando II
Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Prince Consort 1836–37
King Consort 1837–53
Pedro II
Emp. of Brazil 1831–89
Imperial claimant 1889-91
deposed (1889)
Pedro V
King of Portugal 1853–61
Luis I
King of Portugal 1861–89
Isabel, Princess Imperial
Imperial claimant 1891-1921
Miguel (II)
Carlos I
King of Portugal 1889–1908
Luís, Prince Imperial
Pedro de Alcântara
Petrópolis claimant 1921-40
(post mortem only)
Manuel II
last King of Portugal 1908–10
deposed (1910), without issue
Pedro Henrique
Vassouras claimant 1921-81
Pedro Gastão
Petrópolis claimant 1940-2007
Maria Francisca,
Duchess of Braganza

Duarte Nuno
Duarte Pio
[born 1945]
Duke of Braganza

See also


  1. ^ "Civil war - With fire and Sword". Portuguese Court of Audits. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  2. ^ Jean Pailler; Maria Pia of Braganza: The Pretender. New York: ProjectedLetters, 2006.