14 September 2015

Jewel History: Braganza Wedding Will Be Brilliant (1909)

Anita Stewart, Princess Miguel of Braganza, ca. 1911 (source)

Braganza Wedding Will Be Brilliant
(originally published in the New York Times on 12 Sep 1909)

London, Sept. 11 -- Preparations have been begun on a royal scale here for the wedding next Wednesday of Dom Miguel [1], son of the Duke of Braganza, the Portugese pretender [2], who has surrendered his rights in order to marry Miss Anita Stewart [3], the daughter of Mrs. James Henry Smith.

It is possibly unnecessary to contradict the absurd story printed here to the effect that Emperor Francis Joseph [4] had made Miss Stewart a Princess of the Austrian Empire in her own right. Dom Miguel's visit to Vienna, which was stated to have been made in order to thank the Emperor for doing so had, of course, no such object.

The future bridegroom [pictured above, ca. 1920] is now in Scotland, where the wedding will take place at Dingwall, the ancient royal burgh and county town of Rosshire, close to Tulloch Castle, where Miss Stewart and her mother have returned. The wedding will take place in St. Lawrence's Roman Catholic chapel, where Dom Miguel attends daily mass. The chapel is being lavishly decorated and the interior will be transformed by an arrangement of evergreens and smilax into the semblance of a grotto, most of the material coming direct from Paris. In the sanctuary, palms and white lilies will form the principal feature of the decorations, while the front of the choir will be elaborately draped with the Braganza colors, ruby and blue.

The approach to the church from the public highway is to be entirely covered with a rustic archway, beautifully draped, and the church gateway will be converted into a floral arch over which will be inscribed in Portuguese: "God bless thee, O Prince, and thy beautiful bride." Dr. Chisholm, the Catholic Bishop of Aberdeen, has been invited to conduct the wedding ceremonies and will be assisted by Father Fraser, the priest of Dingwall parish, and Father MacDonald of Glenfinnan. The chapel choir and band of the Second Seaforth Highlanders will assist at the service. The rehearsal is to take place at Tulloch Castle Tuesday.

Anita Stewart, Princess Miguel of Braganza (source)

William Rhinelander Stewart, the bride's brother, who will give her away, and Mrs. Anthony J. Drexel, her aunt, have arrived at the castle. Mrs. Drexel's gift is a magnificent tea and coffee tray. Conspicuous among the presents is a feather-shaped cluster of diamonds and sapphires, an heirloom in the Braganza family for over two centuries. It will be worn by the bride on her wedding day. A gift of five tortoiseshell combs, studded with diamonds, comes from the Archduchess Maria Theresa [5], the bridegroom's aunt. Another aunt, Princess von Schwarzenberg [6], sends a beautiful parasol. The gift of the bride's mother, Mrs. J.H. Smith, to the bride is a diamond tiara and a string of costly pearls.

Among the guests expected at the castle on Monday are the Duke and Duchess of Braganza, the father and stepmother of the bridegroom; Prince Francis Joseph [7] and Prince Duarte [8] of Braganza, brothers of the bridegroom; his aunt, Princess Adelgonde of Bavaria [9]; his sister, Princess von Thurn und Taxis [10]; Count Sigray and Dom Alexandre de Saldanha da Gama, who represents the Braganza family in Portugal [11] There will be a grouse drive on Tulloch Castle moors on Tuesday, in which the bridegroom and his father will take part, and, after the departure of the bride and bridegroom on their honeymoon, the guests will have two days' more shooting.

Tulloch Castle, which Mrs. Smith rents from Duncan Davidson, is a picturesque place. It almost burned out during the middle of the last century, but was practically restored. The banqueting hall, where the wedding breakfast will take place, is a fine apartment. A part of the buildings is still called "the ruins." Queer little corkscrew staircases and turreted chambers form the feature of the house, and there are a few good pictures still to be seen, although most of them were destroyed in the fire. The castle is about a mile and a half from Dingwall and stands on high ground. The garden is famous for its clipped box hedges, 12 feet high and 6 feet wide.


1. Dom Miguel, Prince of Braganza (1878-1923) was the son of Prince Miguel, Duke of Braganza (a grandson of King João VI of Portugal) and Princess Elizabeth of Thurn und Taxis. Although this article claims that Miguel renounced his rights to the Portuguese throne ahead of his wedding, he didn't actually do so until 1920, long after the Portuguese monarchy had been abolished.

2. Dom Miguel, Duke of Braganza (1853-1927) was the father of the groom. To explain why Dom Miguel's father was the pretender to the Portuguese throne, and why Dom Miguel's wedding was happening in Scotland, we need a bit of historical background. After the death of King João VI of Portugal in 1826, a succession battle ensued. His son Pedro, who was already Emperor Pedro I of Brazil, initially succeeded his father, but finding it difficult to reign on two continents, he swiftly abdicated the Portuguese throne in favor of his seven-year-old daughter, Maria da Gloria. To make sure the people accepted her as a legitimate ruler, he planned to marry Maria to his younger brother (and therefore her uncle, ew), Prince Miguel. This was obviously problematic for multiple reasons, including the fact that Miguel had been exiled to Austria by their father after he took part in an attempted revolution in 1823. Miguel initially accepted Pedro's plan, but (surprise!) he actually deposed Maria and took the throne for himself as King Miguel I. War ensued, and Maria was restored to the throne in 1834 as Queen Maria II of Portugal. Miguel I and his descendants were banished from Portugal. The Portuguese succession continued through Maria II's descendants, but in 1908, King Carlos and his heir, Luis Felipe, were assassinated in Lisbon. Carlos's second son took the throne as King Manuel II, but he had no legitimate heirs, and neither did his uncle, Infante Afonso -- meaning that, in a twist of irony, King Miguel I's son, the Duke of Braganza, was one of the only remaining heirs to the Portuguese throne. (It didn't really matter. There was a revolution in Portugal in 1910, and the monarchy was abolished.) The Duke's eldest son, Dom Miguel, was the groom at this wedding. Whew. Everyone still with me?

3. Anita Rhinelander Stewart (1886-1977) was the daughter of one of the richest families in New York. Her father, William Rhinelander Stewart, made millions in banking and real estate. Her mother, Annie Armstrong, was the daughter of General John A. Armstrong. William and Annie were divorced in 1906, and Annie subsequently married James Henry Smith, who had made his own millions developing real estate in Chicago and Milwaukee. And then, during their honeymoon in Japan, Smith suddenly died. Anita reportedly received a substantial inheritance from her stepfather's estate. She married Dom Miguel were married in Scotland on September 15, 1909.

4. Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary (1830-1916). When Miguel I was exiled from Portugal in the 1820s and 1830s, he sought refuge in Vienna. His son, the Duke of Braganza, was educated in Austria and became close to Franz Joseph. The emperor even served as godfather to the Duke's second son, Prince Francisco José of Braganza. The Braganzas served in the Austran army and were apparently impoverished when the Habsburgs lost their throne in 1916. On September 7, 1909, the Times printed a story claiming that Franz Joseph had made Anita a princess "in her own right" ahead of the wedding. This story contradicts that claim (which still appears on the web today, using that September 7th article as a source).

5. Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria (1855-1944) was born Infanta Maria Theresa of Portugal, daughter of King Miguel I of Portugal and Princess Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. She was the third wife of Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria, the younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph I; that means she was also the stepmother of the infamous Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose murder sparked World War I. Maria Theresa had two daughters; one of them, Elisabeth, married Prince Alois of Liechtenstein. She was the original owner of the Habsburg Fringe Tiara, owned today by Liechtenstein's princely family.

6. Princess Anna von Schwarzenburg (1873-1936) was born Princess Anna of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. She was the sister of the groom's stepmother, Princess Maria Theresa of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg.

7. Prince Francisco José of Braganza (1879-1919) was the groom's younger brother, the second son of the Duke of Braganza and Princess Elizabeth of Thurn und Taxis. He lived a life full of scandal before dying as a prisoner of war in World War I.

8. Prince Duarte Nuno of Braganza (1907-1976) was the groom's youngest brother, the only son of the Duke of Braganza and his second wife, Princess Maria Theresa of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. He eventually succeeded his father as Duke of Braganza. In 1942, he reunited the two warring lines of the Portuguese royal family by marrying Princess Maria Francisca of Orléans-Braganza, a descendant of Emperor Pedro I of Brazil. The present Duke of Braganza, Dom Duarte Pio, is the son of Duarte Nuno and Maria Francisca. Duarte Pio is also the current pretender to the Portuguese throne.

9. The Times appears to be confusing Princess Adelgunde of Bavaria (1823-1914) with the groom's aunt, Princess Adelgundes of Bourbon-Parma (1858-1946). The latter was born Infanta Adelgundes of Portugal, daughter of King Miguel I of Portugal and Princess Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. She was the widow of Prince Henry of Bourbon-Parma.

10. Princess Maria Theresa of Thurn und Taxis (1881-1945) was born Princess Maria Theresa of Braganza, the only daughter of the Duke of Braganza and Princess Elizabeth of Thurn und Taxis. She married Prince Karl Ludwig of Thurn und Taxis in 1900.

11. The Portuguese nobles represented the remaining members of the royal family. After the assassination the year before, the living family members included King Manuel II, Infante Afonso, Queen Maria Pia, and Queen Amélie.