Portrait of Maria II (1819-1853), Queen of Portugal (1826-1828; 1834-1853), 1846
Maria II (Portuguese: Maria II de Portugal; 4 April 1819 – 15 November 1853) was Queen regnant of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves from 1826 to 1828, and again from 1834 to 1853. Born in Rio de Janeiro, she was the first child of Emperor Pedro I of Brazil and his first wife, Empress Maria Leopoldina and thus a member of the House of Braganza. One of the two surviving child born when Pedro was still Prince Royal of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves, she inherited Portuguese titles and was placed in the line of succession to the former Portuguese throne, even after becoming a member of the Brazilian Imperial Family, from which she was excluded in 1835 after her definitive ascension to the Portuguese throne. Maria II was born Maria da Glória Joana Carlota Leopoldina da Cruz Francisca Xavier de Paula Isidora Micaela Gabriela Rafaela Gonzaga at 4 April 1819 in the Palace of São Cristóvão in Rio de Janeiro, Kingdom of Brazil. She was the eldest daughter of the Prince Pedro de Alcântara, future King of Portugal as Pedro IV and first Emperor of Brazil as Pedro I, and his first wife Maria Leopoldina (née Archduchess Caroline Josepha Leopoldine of Austria), herself a daughter of Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor. She was titled Princess of Beira upon her birth. Born in Brazil, Maria was the only European monarch to have been born outside of Europe, though she was still born in Portuguese territory. The death of Maria's grandfather, King João VI, in March 1826 sparked a succession crisis in Portugal. The king had a male heir, Pedro, but Pedro had proclaimed the independence of Brazil in 1822 with himself as Emperor. The late king also had a younger son, Miguel, but he was exiled to Austria after leading a number of revolutions against his father and his liberal regime. Before his death, the king had nominated his favourite daughter, Isabel Maria, to serve as regent until "the legitimate heir returned to the kingdom" — but he had failed to specify which of his sons was the legitimate heir: Pedro, the liberal Emperor of Brazil, or Miguel, the absolutist exiled prince. Most people considered Pedro to be the legitimate heir, but Brazil did not want him to unite Portugal and Brazil's thrones again. Aware that his brother's supporters were ready to bring Miguel back and put him on the throne, Pedro decided for a more consensual option: he would renounce his claim to the Portuguese throne in favour of his daughter Maria (who was only seven years old), and that she was to marry her uncle Miguel, who would accept the liberal constitution and act as a regent until his niece reached majority. Miguel pretended to accept, but upon his arrival in Portugal he immediately deposed Maria and proclaimed himself king, abrogating the liberal constitution in the process. During his reign of terror, Maria traveled to many European courts, including her maternal grandfather's in Vienna, as well as London and Paris.
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