Teresa, Princess of Beira

Teresa, Princess of Beira
Infanta Teresa by Nicolas-Antoine Taunay, ca. 1817

Infanta Maria Teresa of Portugal (or of Braganza; Portuguese pronunciation: [mɐˈɾiɐ tɨˈɾezɐ] or [ˈtɾezɐ]; April 29, 1793 – January 17, 1874) was the firstborn child of John VI of Portugal and Charlotte of Spain, and heir to the throne of Portugal between 1793 and 1795, until her short-lived brother António Pio was born.

Maria Teresa Francisca de Assis Antónia Carlota Joana Josefa Xavier de Paula Micaela Rafaela Isabel Gonzaga of Braganza was born in Ajuda, Lisbon in 1793. As the eldest child of the Portuguese monarch, she was granted the title Princess of Beira (given to the heir to the throne). Maria Teresa was the eldest daughter of King John VI of Portugal, then the heir-apparent of the reigning queen Maria I of Portugal, and his wife Carlota Joaquina, daughter of Charles IV of Spain.

She was married on May 13, 1810 in Rio de Janeiro (where the royal family was exiled because of the Napoleonic wars) to her cousin Infante Pedro Carlos, Prince of Spain and Portugal. She was widowed on May 26, 1812, but soon after gave birth to her only child, a son, Infante Sebastian of Portugal and Spain (1813–75).

Very conservative, she was an ally of her younger brother Miguel I of Portugal in his attempts to obtain the throne of Portugal (civil war 1826–34), and of her brother-in-law and uncle Infante Don Carlos, Count of Molina in his attempts to obtain the Spanish throne. In the last years of the reign of her uncle Ferdinand VII of Spain (died 1833), Teresa lived in Madrid and plotted to strengthen Don Carlos' position in succession. She participated in the First Carlist War (1833–39), being a leading supporter of Carlism, church and reactionary interests. Her sister Francisca, Titular Queen of Spain, wife of Carlos, died in 1834.

On 15 January 1837, the Cortes of Spain legislated her excluded from the Spanish succession, rights belonging to her in descent from her mother, on grounds of her being a rebel along with don Carlos. Her son Sebastian's rights were similarly excluded, but he was later, in 1859, restored in Spain. Also don Carlos' sons and Teresa's brother Miguel I of Portugal were excluded at the same law.

The next year she married again, in 1838, to her brother-in-law, uncle and longtime ally, Infante Carlos of Spain (1788–1855), whom she viewed as the rightful king of Spain; the widower of her sister Maria Francisca. The second marriage remained childless, but she took care of her stepsons, who were also her nephews.

They soon left Spain because of unsuccess in the civil war, and never returned. She died in Trieste on 17 January 1874, having survived her second husband by nineteen years.


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