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Maria Francisca of Savoy

Maria Francisca of Savoy

Queen of Portugal
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Queen of Portugal
Countries France
Occupations Queen consort
Gender female
Birth June 21, 1646 (Paris, Île-de-France, France)
Death December 27, 1683 (Lisbon, Lisbon District, Portugal)
Mother: Élisabeth de Bourbon
Father: Charles AmadeusDuke of Nemours
Spouse: Afonso VI of PortugalPeter II of Portugal
Children: Isabel LuísaPrincess of Beira
The details

D. Maria Francisca of Savoy (Marie Françoise Élisabeth; 21 June 1646 – 27 December 1683) was twice queen consort of Portugal as the spouse of two Portuguese kings. She first became queen of Portugal at the age of 20 on the day of her marriage to Afonso VI. Since the marriage was never consummated, she was able to obtain an annulment. On 28 March 1668, she married Afonso's brother, the Infante Peter, Duke of Beja, who was appointed prince regent the same year due to Afonso's perceived incompetence. Maria Francisca became queen of Portugal for the second time when Peter succeeded his brother as Peter II in 1683. She herself died later that year.


Maria Francisca was born in Paris as the younger daughter of Charles Amadeus, Duke of Nemours, and Élisabeth de Bourbon. Elisabeth was a granddaughter of Henry IV of France and his mistress Gabrielle d'Estrées. Her only surviving sibling was Marie Jeanne of Savoy. Prior to marriage she was styled Mademoiselle d'Aumale, a title derived from the duchy of Aumale which was a property of her father.

First marriage

Marie Françoise de Savoie-Nemours.

In need of support from Portugal against their mutual enemy Spain, the king of France, Louis XIV, arranged a marriage between Marie Françoise, an important member of the French nobility as a cousin of the king, and the new Portuguese king, Afonso VI, an ill young man who was paralysed on his left side and mentally unstable.

She departed from La Rochelle aboard the Vendôme. Upon her arrival in Portugal, she became known as Maria Francisca Isabel de Sabóia. She was deeply disappointed with her new life at the court of Portugal. The wedding with King Afonso took place on 2 August 1666. She soon saw fit to participate in a palace coup that ended the government of Luís de Vasconcelos e Sousa, 3rd Count of Castelo Melhor, in cooperation with her brother-in-law, the Infante Peter.

As the Portuguese Restoration War continued, the incapable King Afonso VI became dominated by ambitious members of the nobility. The queen began an affair with her brother-in-law, Peter. Queen Maria Francisca and the king's brother Peter sponsored a revolt that forced the king to abdicate his powers and consent to an exile in Terceira in the Azores. She was revolted at her impotent and fat husband King Afonso, and after sixteen months of an unconsummated marriage, she had it annulled.

Second marriage

Months after her annulment, Maria Francisca married the Infante Peter, now the Prince Regent of Portugal. In 1669 she gave birth to a daughter, Isabel Luísa Josefa of Portugal, Princess of Beira. The Braganza dynasty was at the brink of extinction, and Peter needed heirs, yet Maria Francisca was unable to produce further issue.

When Afonso died in 1683, Peter succeeded him as Peter II of Portugal and Maria Francisca became queen again — but died in December of the same year. Maria Francisca's only child, the Infanta Isabel Luísa, died unmarried at age 22. Peter remarried to Maria Sofia of the Palatinate, who produced the much-needed heir, the future John V of Portugal.

She was first buried at the Convent of the Francesinhas, then moved in 1912 to the Braganzas' (or National) Pantheon at the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora.


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