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Maria Pia of Savoy

Maria Pia of Savoy

Italian princess
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Italian princess
Gender female
Birth February 14, 1847 (Turin)
Death July 5, 1911 (Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi)
Mother: Adelaide of Austria
Father: Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy
Siblings: Umberto I of ItalyAmadeo I of SpainPrince OddoneDuke of Montferrat
Spouse: Luís I of Portugal
Children: Carlos I of PortugalAfonsoDuke of Oporto
The details

Dona Maria Pia of Savoy (16 October 1847 – 5 July 1911) was a Portuguese Queen consort, spouse of King Luís I of Portugal. On the day of her baptism, Pope Pius IX, her godfather, gave her a Golden Rose. Maria Pia was married to Luís on the 6 October 1862 in Lisbon. She was the grand mistress of the Order of Saint Isabel.


Maria Pia was the daughter of Victor Emmanuel II, the first King of Italy, by his wife Adelaide of Austria. Her sister Maria Clotilde was the "princesse Napoléon" as wife of Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte and her brothers were King Umberto I of Italy and King Amadeo of Spain.


Portrait of the Queen by Carolus Duran, 1880.

As Queen, Maria Pia was considered by some as extravagant, but far more for her many charitable works in aid of the Portuguese people. She was known by the Portuguese people as an "angel of charity" and "mother of the poor" for her compassion and work on social causes. At a masquerade ball in 1865, she changed her costume three times. When the Portuguese parliament discussed her expenses, she replied saying "if you want a Queen, you have to pay for her". As Queen, she was largely responsible for the interiors of the Ajuda Royal Palace in Lisbon, still used to this time for banquets during state visits by foreign heads of state.

Maria Pia did not involve herself in politics, but at a conflict with João Carlos Saldanha de Oliveira Daun, 1st Duke of Saldanha in 1870, she stated: "If I were the king, I would have him shot!"

Queen Dowager

King Luís died on 19 October 1889 and Maria Pia became Queen Dowager. She remained very active and continued with her social projects while holding a dominating position at court. She served as regent during the absence of the king and queen abroad. The Queen Dowager was devastated after the assassination of her son King Carlos I of Portugal and grandson Crown Prince Luís Filipe, Duke of Braganza, on 1 February 1908 on the Praça do Comércio in Lisbon. During her last years in Portugal, she withdrew from the public eye. She was deeply saddened after the military coup that deposed her remaining grandson, King Manuel II of Portugal by the 5 October 1910 Revolution.


Maria Pia left Portugal with the rest of the royal family on board the royal yacht into exile in 1910. She returned to her native Italy, where she died on 5 July 1911, aged 63. Her remains are interred in the royal mausoleum in the Basilica of Superga, near Turin, with most members of the House of Savoy since the 18th century.


Name Birth Death Notes
Dom Carlos, Prince Royal of Portugal September 28, 1863 February 1, 1908 Who succeeded his father as Carlos I, King of Portugal, murdered in 1908 by the Carbonária.
Dom Afonso, Prince Royal of Portugal July 31, 1865 February 21, 1920 Infante of Portugal, Duke of Porto, Viceroy of Portuguese India, and after 1908 Prince Royal.


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 14 February 1847 – 6 October 1862 Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Pia of Savoy
  • 6 October 1862 – 19 October 1889 Her Most Faithful Majesty The Queen of Portugal [and the Algarves]
  • 19 October 1889 – 1 February 1908 Her Most Faithful Majesty The Queen Dowager of Portugal [and the Algarves]
  • 1 February 1908 – 5 July 1911 Her Most Faithful Majesty Queen Maria Pia of Portugal
Maria Pia of Savoy
House of Savoy
Born: 14 February 1847 Died: 5 July 1911
Portuguese royalty
Preceded by
Stephanie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Queen consort of Portugal
6 October 1862 – 19 October 1889
Succeeded by
Amélie of Orléans

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