Archduke Rainer of Austria, Carlo Emmanuel of Savoy, Elisabeth of Savoy, Jerome Bonaparte, King Luís I of Portugal, King of Italy, Manuel II of Portugal, Maria Pia of Savoy, Princess Napoléon, Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia
Maria Pia (October 16, 1847 – July 5, 1911) was an Italian Princess and Portuguese Queen consort as spouse of King Luís I of Portugal. She was a member of the House of Savoy. On the day of her baptism, Pope Pius IX, her godfather, gave her a Golden Rose. Maria Pia was married to Luís on the October 6, 1862 in Lisbon. She was the grand mistress of the Order of Saint Isabel.
Maria Pia of Savoy was the daughter of Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia and the first King of Italy, by his wife Archduchess Adelaide of Austria, daughter of Archduke Rainer of Austria and his wife Princess Elisabeth of Savoy. Princess Elisabeth of Savoy was the daughter of Carlo Emmanuel, Prince of Carignano (1770–1800), and Princess Maria Cristina of Saxony (1770–1851). Princess Elisabeth of Savoy had an elder brother, Charlo Alberto, future King of Sardinia. Carlo Alberto of Sardinia was the father of Maria Pia of Savoy’s father, Victor Emmanuel II, the first King of Italy.
Maria Pia’s sister, Maria Clotilde, was the “Princesse Napoléon” as wife of Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte, usually called Napoléon-Jérôme Bonaparte or Jérôme Bonaparte, who was the second son of Jerome, King of Westphalia, youngest brother of French Emperor Napoleon I, and his second wife Catharina of Württemberg.
Maria Pia’s brothers were King Umberto I of Italy and King Amadeo of Spain.
Maria Pia married King Luís I of Portugal on October 6, 1862 at the age of 14 in the São Domingos Church in Lisbon, therefore she instantly became Queen consort of Portugal. was a member of the ruling House of Braganza, and King of Portugal from 1861 to 1889. King Luís I of Portugal was the second son of Queen Maria II and Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry, cousin of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Ferdinand was a King Consort of Portugal. Luís acceded to the throne upon the death of his elder brother King Pedro V.
One year after the wedding, Maria Pia gave birth to her first son and heir, Carlos, Duke of Braganza. In 1865 she had another son, Afonso, Duke of Porto.
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 day for banquets during state visits by foreign heads of state.
Maria Pia did not involve herself in politics, but in 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 you shot!”
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 1, 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 October 5, 1910 Revolution.
Due to the 1910 coup that deposed Maria Pia’s grandson, Manuel II, and established the republic in Portugal, the whole Portuguese royal family was exiled. King Manuel and Queen Amelie went to England, while Maria Pia and Infante Afonso went to her native Italy, where she died on the of July 5, of the very next year in Stupinigi, and was interred in the Basilica of Superga.