Manuel II of Portugal : biography

15 November 1889 - 2 July 1932

During his reign he visited many parts of northern Portugal, in addition to Spain, France and the United Kingdom, where he was appointed Knight of the Order of the Garter, in November 1909. He cultivated a foreign policy that was close to Great Britain, which was not only the geo-political strategy that his father maintained, but it also reinforced his position on the throne by having a strong ally. The court also considered the marriage of a King of the House of Braganza to a British princess would secure the protection of the United Kingdom in any impending conflict. But, the country's instability, the assassination of the King and Prince Royal, and the drawn-out negotiations that were ended with the death of Edward VII, ended these pretensions. The old British monarch, a personal friend of Carlos, would have been the great protector of the House of Braganza, and without him, the liberal government of Britain had no interest in maintaining the Portuguese monarchy.


Titles, Honours, and Styles

Titles and Styles

  • 19 March 1889 - 19 October 1889 His Highness The Most Serene Infante Manuel of Portugal
  • 19 October 1889 - 1 February 1908 His Highness The Duke of Beja, Infante of Portugal
  • 1 February 1908 - 5 October 1910 His Most Faithful Majesty The King of Portugal and the Algarves
  • 5 October 1910 - 2 July 1932 His Most Faithful Majesty King Manuel II of Portugal and the Algarves

Manuel's official styling as King of Portugal: By the Grace of God and by the Constitution of the Monarchy, Manuel II, King of Portugal and the Algarves, of either side of the sea in Africa, Lord of Guinea and of Conquest, Navigation, and Commerce of Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia, and India, etc.


As King of Portugal, Manuel was Grand Master of the following Portuguese Orders:

  • Order of Christ
  • Order of Saint Benedict of Aviz
  • Order of Saint James of the Sword
  • Order of the Tower and Sword
  • Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa

Monarchy and its status

Since 1911, the Portuguese monarchists-in-exile concentrated in Galicia, Spain in order to enter Portugal and restore the monarchy but without the tacit approval of the Spanish government. The monarchists were led by the charismatic Henrique Mitchell de Paiva Couceiro, a veteran of the African colonial campaigns. The Paladin, as the Portuguese newspapers called him, believed that demonstrating a show of force would force the rural people to rise-up and support the restoration. But he was wrong; poorly prepared and badly financed, his forces encountered apathy from the rural population and the incursions ended with retreats into Galicia. The warm welcomes he received during his visits were countered by republicans. One republican, João Chagas, the anti-monarchist journalist and propagandist of the Republican Party, warned the King of the problems that would develop when he declared:

"...your Highness arrives too young into a very old world...!"

Dover Pact

After the failure of the first monarchist incursion, and what appeared Manuel's apparent disinterest in restoring the monarchy (and his abandonment of armed counter-revolution), another group of royalists attempted to legitimize the claims of the descendants of the pretender Miguel to the throne. Miguel's line had been excluded from the line of succession, owing to Miguel's usurpation of the throne and subsequent civil war. In order to counter this, the King entered into direct negotiations with Miguel's representatives: he attempted to fix himself as rightful King and re-recognise the descendants of Miguel as secondary heirs to the throne of Portugal, thereby re-establishing their rights and Portuguese citizenship. In fact, there was an encounter between Manuel II and Miguel II, in Dover, England, United Kingdom on 30 January 1912, where both exchanged protocols. The results of this meeting remains controversial: although there was an accord on challenging the republic, there remained no clear agreement on hereditary lines of succession, and Manuel still retained his right to the throne. A secondary Paris Pact was attempted but failed.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine