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Pedro III (July 5, 1717 – May 25, 1786), nicknamed the Builder, became King of Portugal jure uxoris by the accession of his wife and niece Queen Maria I in 1777, and co-reigned alongside her until his death.

Pedro III, King of Portugal

Pedro was born at 12:00 noon on July 5, 1717 in the Ribeira Palace in Lisbon, Portugal.nHe was baptized on August 29, and was given the name HRH Prince Pedro Clemente Francisco José António de Braganza of Portugal.

His parents were King João V and his wife Archduchess Maria-Anna of Austria, who was a daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I and Eleanor-Magdalene of Neuburg. Archduchess Maria-Anna was a sister of Holy Roman Emperors Joseph I and Charles VI. Through her brother Charles, she was an aunt of Maria Theresa, Empress Consort of Holy Roman Emperor Franz I, and Queen of Bohemia, Hungary and Archduchess of Austria in her own right.

King João V of Portugal (father of King Pedro III and King José I of Portugal)

Archduchess Maria-Anna of Austria (mother of King Pedro III and King José I of Portugal)

Pedro was a younger brother of King José I of Portugal. Their maternal Eleanor-Magdalene of Neuburg, was the older sister of Maria-Sophia Elisabeth of Neuburg (1666-1699) who was Queen of Portugal as the wife of King Pedro II from 1687 until her death in 1699. A popular queen, she was noted for her extraordinary generosity and for being the mother of the famously extravagant King João V of Portugal.

Pedro married his niece Infanta Maria, Princess of Brazil, on June 6, 1760, at which time she was the heiress presumptive to the throne then held by his brother King José I of Portugal. Infanta Maria, Princess of Brazil was the daughter of King José I of Portugal and Infanta Mariana Victoria of Spain, daughter of King Felipe V of Spain and Elisabeth Farnese. The elder sister of King José I of Portugal was Infanta Barbara of Portugal married the future Fernando VI of Spain.

Queen Maria I of Portugal

At the time of their marriage, Maria was 25 and Pedro was 42. Despite the age gap, the couple had a happy marriage.

With the death of King José I on February 24, 1777, the throne passed to his daughter who ascended the throne as Queen Maria I. According to custom, Pedro thus became King of Portugal as Pedro III in right of his wife (jure uxoris), who he reigned with jointly. They had six children, of whom the eldest surviving son succeeded Maria as João VI on her death in 1816.

Pedro III made no attempt to participate in government affairs, spending his time hunting or in religious exercises.
He also defended the high nobility of Portugal, and sponsored the petitions of those accused in Távora affair, whose rehabilitation was subject of new lawsuits, in which the heirs demanded the restitution of their confiscated properties.

King José I of Portugal

Pedro III was moderately friendly toward the Jesuits, who had been banished from Portugal and its overseas empire in 1759, largely at the behest of the Marquis of Pombal. Pedro III had taken some of his early education from the Jesuits, explaining this. His affection had little effect; Pope Clement XIV ordered the Jesuits suppressed across Europe in 1773.

Maria I (December 17, 1734 – March 20, 1816) was the first undisputed queen regnant of Portugal and the first monarch of Brazil. With Napoleon’s European conquests, her court, then under the direction of her son João, the Prince Regent, moved to Brazil, then a Portuguese colony. Later on, Brazil would be elevated from the rank of a colony to that of a kingdom, with the consequential formation of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves.

Infante José, Prince of Brazil, Duke of Braganza

The eldest son of Pedro III and Maria I was Infante José, Prince of Brazil, Duke of Braganza (August 20, 1761 – September 11, 1788) was the heir apparent to the Kingdom of Portugal until his death in 1788. Infante José died of smallpox at the age of 27, causing his younger and ill-prepared brother, Infante João, to become heir-apparent and eventually King. João’s reign would be a turbulent one, seeing the Napoleonic invasion of Portugal and the loss of the Portuguese Empire’s largest and wealthiest colony, Brazil.

Marriage of Infante José, Prince of Brazil, Duke of Braganza

On February 21, 1777, when Infante José, was 15 years old, he married his 30-year-old aunt the Infanta Benedita of Portugal. Benedita was an attractive woman and the main candidate for the wife of José. The marriage was the express wish of the dying King José I of Portugal.

Infanta Benedita of Portugal

This union is an example of the most inbred unions in European Royal History. As we have seen, Infante José was the product of an Uncle-Nice marriage and then he proceeded to marry his own aunt, the sister of his mother!

Thankfully they had no children, however she miscarried twice: in 1781 and in 1786. Three days after their wedding, is when José’s grandfather and Benedita’s father the old King José died, and his mother succeeded as queen regnant. Infante José became the new crown prince, being accorded the titles Prince of Brazil and 14th Duke of Braganza.

King Pedro III died at the age of 68 on May 25, 1786.