Carlos de Bragança became King of Portugal at the age of 26 after the death of his Father D. Luís in 1889.
His Germanic looks and bearing came from his Saxe-Coburg ancestry. He married Amálie, the daughter of the Comte de Paris, who was known in Portugal as Rainha D. Amália.
Carlos was the penultimate king of Portugal and his world of constitutional monarchy was to quickly disappear after his death.
Carlos played a conspicuous part in rebuilding Portugal's foreign relations, in particular with Great Britain through his friendship with Edward the VII. However, much of his life was spent in trying to stabilise his throne, fending off internal politics and court intrigues at his various palaces in Lisbon and throughout the country.
He was liked amongst the people for his informality, freedom of movement without protection and as a sportsman; on the other hand many factions in the country did not appreciate his opulent life style and numerous palaces requiring expensive upkeep.
He had wide interests as a patron of the arts and sciences, especially marine biology; he was an accomplished artist mainly of seascapes and coastal scenes many of which were painted from the fishing village of Cascais while looking out over the River Tagus.
Hundreds of his paintings may be seen today at his palace at Vila Viçosa in the Alentejo and in various museums in Lisbon.
The king and queen visited Madeira in 1901 and were entertained at the Casa Velha on the 24 of July. The King rode up from Funchal on horseback whilst the Queen arrived by bullock sledge. After a huge picnic banquet on the lawn in front of the house attended by many members of the British community, a game of tennis was played. A photograph of this occasion shows Don Carlos smoking a large cigar with a racket in his hand playing tennis with members of the Blandy family.
On the 1 February 1908, the king and his family traveled from Vila Viçosa by carriage without escort and crossed the Terreiro do Paço in the centre of Lisbon. Suddenly a fusillade of shot rained upon them and the king and the Duke of Bragança were killed. The queen and D. Manuel, the royal couple’s son, survived the attack. The house of Bragança collapsed two years later when the young king and his mother yielded after a period of unrest, were escorted to England and settled in Richmond, Surrey.
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