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In the history of Portugal, a Miguelist (in Portuguese Miguelista) was a supporter of the legitimacy of the king Miguel I of Portugal. The name is also given to those who supported absolutism as form of government, in opposition to the liberals who intended the establishment of a constitutional regime in Portugal.
Miguel was regent for his niece Queen Maria II of Portugal, and potential royal consort. However, he claimed the Portuguese throne in his own right on the grounds that the "Fundamental Laws of the Kingdom" deprived his elder brother Pedro IV of his right to reign (and of any right of Pedro's daughter to inherit the kingdom from her father) when Pedro became sovereign of the former Portuguese colony of Brazil and launched war on Portugal to oust Miguel as a usurper.
This overall led to a political crisis, during which many people were killed, imprisoned, persecuted or sent into exile, culminating in the Portuguese Liberal Wars between authoritarian Absolutists (led by Miguel) and progressive Constitutionalists (led by Pedro).
In the end, Miguel was forced from the throne and lived the last 32 years of his life in exile.
Miguelism is based not only on the premise that Miguel and his line have legitimate right to the Portuguese throne, but also on defense of the traditional principles of a conservative monarchy based in Roman Catholic values and in the absolute power of the king, in contrast to the Enlightenment values.
In exile, the former king married a wealthy Bavarian princess, Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. This marriage was the origin of the new Miguelist branch of the Braganzas and their descendants include not only the current claimant to the Portuguese crown, as well as the monarchs of Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and other claimants to former European monarchies (Habsburgs, Austria-Este, Savoy, Wittelsbach, Bourbon-Parma, Thurn und Taxis, Ligne).
Finally, this Miguelist branch, became the sole Braganzas representative when King Manuel II of Portugal (the last male Braganza from the senior liberal branch) died without issue, allegedly leaving his closest legitimate Portuguese relative, his Miguelist cousin Duarte Nuno, as heir. Also Maria Pia of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Braganza, who claimed to be the illegitimate daughter of King Carlos I of Portugal, claimed the right to the titles of Duchess of Braganza and to be the rightful Queen of Portugal.
Miguelist claimants to the throne
On the family tree below, the Miguelist branch is clearly identified on the right-hand side.
King of the U. K. of
Portugal, Brazil & the Algarves 1816–22
King of Portugal & the Algarves 1822–26
Titular Emperor of Brazil 1825–26
|Pedro I / IV|
Emp. of Brazil 1822–31
King of Portugal 1826
Regent (to his niece) 1828
King of Portugal 1828–34
Legitimist claimant 1834–66
Emp. of Brazil 1831–89
Queen of Portugal
Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Prince Consort 1836–37
King Consort 1837–53
King of Portugal 1853–61
King of Portugal 1861–89
Legitimist claimant 1866–1920
King of Portugal 1889–1908
last King of Portugal 1908–10
deposed (1910), without issue
Legitimist claimant 1920–32
Royalist claimant 1932–76
Duke of Braganza
Current claimant (since 1976)
- Jean Pailler; Maria Pia of Braganza: The Pretender. New York: ProjectedLetters, 2006.