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Amélie of Orléans

Amélie of Orléans

Portuguese queen consort
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Portuguese queen consort
Gender female
Birth 28 September 1865 (London, Greater London, London, England)
Death 25 October 1951 (Le Chesnay, canton of Le Chesnay, arrondissement of Versailles, Yvelines)
Star sign Libra
Mother: Princess Marie Isabelle of Orléans
Father: Prince Philippe, Count of Paris
Siblings: Prince PhilippeDuke of OrléansPrince FerdinandDuke of MontpensierPrincess Hélène of OrléansPrincess Isabelle of OrléansPrincess Louise of Orléans
Spouse: Carlos I of Portugal
Children: Luís Filipe, Prince Royal of PortugalManuel II of Portugal
The details

Princess Amélie of Orléans (28 September 1865 – 25 October 1951) was the last Queen consort of Portugal. Wife of Carlos I of Portugal, she was known to her husband's subjects as "Maria Amélia de Orleães". As the eldest daughter of Prince Philippe, Count of Paris, and his wife, Princess Marie Isabelle d'Orléans, she was a "Princess of Orléans" by birth.


Amélie's paternal grandparents were Prince Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans, and Duchess Helena of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Her maternal grandparents were Prince Antoine, Duke of Montpensier, and the Infanta Luisa Fernanda of Spain.

The Dukes of Orléans and Montpensier were siblings, both sons of Louis-Philippe I, King of the French, and Maria Amalia of the Two Sicilies.

Marriage and issue

On 22 May 1886, Amélie married Carlos, Prince Royal of Portugal. He was the eldest son of King Luís I of Portugal and Maria Pia of Savoy. He was at the time the heir apparent to the throne. The bride was almost twenty-one years old and the groom about twenty-three. The marriage had been arranged by their families after several attempts to arrange a marriage for her with a member of the Austrian or Spanish dynasties. At first, the marriage was not popular and Queen Maria Pia was expecting to marry Carlos to the Archduchess Marie Valerie of Austria, Princess Mathilde of Saxony, Princess Viktoria of Prussia or Princess Victoria of Wales. However, Amélie and Carlos came to live quite harmoniously with each other.

They had three children:

  • Luís Filipe, Duke of Braganza (21 March 1887 – 1 February 1908).
  • Infanta Maria Anna of Portugal (born and deceased on 14 December 1887).
  • Manuel II of Portugal (15 November 1889 – 2 July 1932).

Queen consort

The Queen wearing the Diadem of the Stars.

Amélie played an active role as a queen, and somewhat softened the growing criticism towards the monarchy with her personal popularity, though she did receive some criticism for her expenses. She was active in many social projects, such as the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis and the foundation of charity organisations, sanatoriums and drugstores. She was considered less formal than her mother-in-law Maria Pia, learned Portuguese well and was described as calm and mild. She was interested in literature, opera and theatre, was a diarist and also painted. During the absence of her spouse in 1895, she acted as regent. In 1902, she made a cruise on the Mediterranean Sea that was much criticised for its luxury.

In 1892, Pope Leo XIII gave a Golden Rose to Amélie.

On 19 October 1889, her father-in-law died and Carlos succeeded him on the throne. Amélie became the new Queen consort of Portugal. However her husband became known for his extramarital affairs while the popularity of the Portuguese monarchy started to wane in the face of a bankrupt economy, industrial disturbances, socialist and republican antagonism and press criticism.

Lisbon regicide

Illustration of the Lisbon Regicide

On 1 February 1908, the royal family returned from the palace of Vila Viçosa to Lisbon. They travelled in the royal train to Barreiro and from there took a boat to cross the Tagus River. They disembarked at Cais das Colunas in the principal square of downtown Lisbon, the Terreiro do Paço. On their way to the Palace of Necessidades, the carriage carrying Carlos and his family passed through the Rua do Arsenal (Arsenal Street). While crossing the square and turning to the street, several shots were fired from the crowd by at least two men: Alfredo Luís da Costa, Manuel Buiça, between many others. The King died immediately, his heir Prince Dom Luís was mortally wounded, and Infante Dom Manuel was hit in the arm, yet Queen Amélie was surprisingly unharmed after trying to defend her youngest son, the new king Manuel II, with the flower bouquet she kept in her hand.

The two assassins were shot on the spot by members of the royal bodyguard and later were recognized as members of the Portuguese Republican Party and of their masonic left-wing organisation Carbonária. About twenty minutes later, Prince Luis Filipe died and the next day, Manuel was acclaimed king of Portugal, the last of the Braganza dynasty.

Manuel II of Portugal was deposed by a military coup, later known as the 5 October 1910 revolution, which resulted in the establishment of the Portuguese First Republic. Queen Amélie left Portugal with the rest of the royal family and went into exile. She lived most of her remaining life in France. During World War II the Portuguese government invited her to return to Portugal, but she declined the offer. She visited Portugal the last time in 1945.

She was the last Queen consort of Portugal, as the monarchy has never been restored.



  • Kingdom of Portugal House of Braganza: PRT Ordem de Nossa Senhora da Conceicao de Vila Vicosa Cavaleiro ribbon.svg Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa
  • Kingdom of Portugal House of Braganza: PRT Order of Christ - Grand Cross BAR.png Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Royal Order of Christ
  • Kingdom of Portugal House of Braganza: Ordine di Santa Isabella.png 7th Grand Mistress Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Saint Isabel, Special Class


  • Austria-Hungary Austrian Imperial and Royal Family: Ordre de la Croix étoilée autro-hongrois.jpg Dame of the Imperial and Royal Order of the Starry Cross, 1st Class
  •  Sovereign Military Order of Malta: SMOM-gs.svg Dame Grand Cross of Obedience of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
  • Spain Spanish Royal Family: Order of Queen Maria Luisa - Ribbon bar.svg 867th Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Queen Maria Luisa
  • Russian Empire Russian Imperial Family: RUS Imperial Order of Saint Catherine ribbon.svg Dame Grand Cordon of the Imperial Order of Saint Catherine


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