Prince Francis Joseph of Braganza

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Prince Francis Joseph
Francis Joseph of Braganza.jpg
Born(1879-09-07)7 September 1879
Meran, Austria-Hungary
Died15 June 1919(1919-06-15) (aged 39)
Ischia, Italy
Full name
Francisco José Gerardo Maria Jorge Humberto Antonio Henrique Miguel Rafael Gabriel de Bragança
House House of Braganza
Father Miguel, Duke of Braganza
Mother Princess Elisabeth of Thurn and Taxis

Prince Francis Joseph of Braganza (Portuguese : Príncipe Francisco José de Bragança; 7 September 1879 15 June 1919) was a member of the exiled branch of House of Braganza and an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army. During his life he was involved in a number incidents ranging from sex scandals to swindles.

Portuguese language Romance language that originated in Portugal

Portuguese is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation may be referred to as "Lusophone" in both English and Portuguese.

House of Braganza dynasty

The Most Serene House of Braganza, or the Brigantine Dynasty, also known in the Empire of Brazil as the Most August House of Braganza is a dynasty of emperors, kings, princes, and dukes of Portuguese origin, a branch of the House of Aviz.

Austro-Hungarian Army ground force of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy from 1867 to 1918

The Austro-Hungarian Army was the ground force of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy from 1867 to 1918. It was composed of three parts: the joint army, the Imperial Austrian Landwehr, and the Royal Hungarian Honvéd.


Early life

Prince Francis Joseph (left) with his father, brother Miguel and sister Maria Theresia Royal Family of Portugal.jpg
Prince Francis Joseph (left) with his father, brother Miguel and sister Maria Theresia

Francis Joseph [lower-alpha 1] was born in Meran, Austria (now in Italy), the second son of the Miguelist pretender to the Portuguese throne Miguel, Duke of Braganza and his first wife Princess Elisabeth of Thurn and Taxis. [2] He was the namesake of his godfather Emperor Francis Joseph I of Austria. [3] His elder brother, Prince Miguel, Duke of Viseu, was married to the American Anita Stewart. [4] In order to get the consent of his father to marry Anita, his brother Dom Miguel had to renounce all claim to the throne of Portugal in favor of Prince Francis Joseph. [5]


In the history of Portugal, a Miguelist was a supporter of the legitimacy of the king Miguel I of Portugal. The name is also given to those who supported absolutism as form of government, in opposition to the liberals who intended the establishment of a constitutional regime in Portugal.

Miguel, Duke of Braganza Portuguese pretender, son of King Miguel I

Miguel Januário of Braganza was the Miguelist claimant to the throne of Portugal from 1866 to 1920. He used the title Duke of Braganza.

Princess Elisabeth of Thurn and Taxis Portuguese infanta

Princess Elisabeth of Thurn and Taxis

Francis Joseph's father was the head of the non reigning branch of the Portuguese Royal House that had been exiled from Portugal. The exile was the result of the Portuguese law of banishment of 1834 and the constitution of 1838 which was brought about because his grandfather, King Miguel I of Portugal, had in 1828 usurped the throne of Portugal from Queen Maria II. His grandfather reigned as king until 1834 when Maria II was restored. Those Portuguese who recognized Francis Joseph's father as rightful king of Portugal acknowledged Francis Joseph as an Infante of Portugal.

Miguel I of Portugal King of Portugal

DomMiguel I, nicknamed The Absolutist, The Traditionalist and The Usurper, was the King of Portugal between 1828 and 1834, the seventh child and third son of King João VI (John VI) and his queen, Carlota Joaquina of Spain.

Maria II of Portugal Queen of Portugal

DonaMaria II "the Educator" or "the Good Mother", reigned as Queen of Portugal from 1826 to 1828, and again from 1834 to 1853. Born in Rio de Janeiro, she was the first child of Emperor Pedro I of Brazil and his first wife, Empress Maria Leopoldina and thus a member of the House of Braganza. One of the two surviving children born when Pedro was still heir apparent to Portugal, she inherited Portuguese titles and was placed in the line of succession to the former Portuguese throne, even after becoming a member of the Brazilian Imperial Family, from which she was excluded in 1835 after her definitive ascension to the Portuguese throne.

Infante, also anglicised as Infant or translated as Prince, is the title and rank given in the Iberian kingdoms of Spain and Portugal to the sons and daughters (infantas) of the king, regardless of age, sometimes with the exception of the [male] heir apparent to the throne who usually bears a unique princely or ducal title. The wife of a male infante was accorded the title of infanta if the marriage was dynastically approved, although since 1987 this is no longer automatically the case in Spain. Husbands of born infantas did not obtain the title of infante through marriage, although occasionally elevated to that title de gracia at the sovereign's command.


Like his father, Francis Joseph pursued a career in the Austro-Hungarian Army. In October 1900, while a lieutenant in the Hussars he was disciplined by his godfather the Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph, after he issued a challenge to an old colonel who called him to account for a breach of Army regulations. As a result, he was removed from the Hussars and transferred to a regiment of Dragoons and sent to carry out policing duties in the barren, poverty stricken villages along the Austrian-Russian frontier. [6]

Royalist fighter

In 1911–12 Francis Joseph participated in the monarchist uprisings in northern Portugal led by Henrique Mitchell de Paiva Couceiro, in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the First Portuguese Republic. [7] After his father and older brother offered to give up their claim to the Portuguese throne in an attempt to unite the monarchist support behind the deposed King Manuel II, Prince Francis Joseph was hailed as a leader of the Royalist cause by a number of Miguelist supporters and was seen as a rival to the deposed king in the event of a restoration. [8]

Henrique Mitchell de Paiva Couceiro Portuguese colonial administrator

Henrique Mitchell de Paiva Cabral Couceiro was a Portuguese soldier, colonial governor, monarchist politician and counter-revolutionary; he was notable for his role during the colonial occupation of Angola and Mozambique and for his dedication to the monarchist cause during the period of the First Portuguese Republic through the founding of the Monarchy of the North.

First Portuguese Republic 1910-1926 republic in Southwestern Europe

The First Portuguese Republic spans a complex 16-year period in the history of Portugal, between the end of the period of constitutional monarchy marked by the 5 October 1910 revolution and the 28 May 1926 coup d'état. The latter movement instituted a military dictatorship known as Ditadura Nacional that would be followed by the corporatist Estado Novo regime of António de Oliveira Salazar.

During World War I, Francis Joseph fought in the Austro-Hungarian Army and was captured. He was imprisoned on the island of Ischia, near Naples, where he died of heart failure on 15 June 1919. [9]

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Ischia volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea

Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It lies at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, about 30 kilometres from the city of Naples. It is the largest of the Phlegrean Islands. Roughly trapezoidal, it measures approximately 10 km east to west and 7 km north to south and has about 34 km of coastline and a surface area of 46.3 square kilometres (17.9 sq mi). It is almost entirely mountainous; the highest peak is Mount Epomeo, at 788 metres. The island is very densely populated, with 60,000 residents.

Naples Comune in Campania, Italy

Naples is the regional capital of Campania and the third-largest municipality in Italy after Rome and Milan. In 2017, around 967,069 people lived within the city's administrative limits while its province-level municipality has a population of 3,115,320 residents. Its continuously built-up metropolitan area is the second or third largest metropolitan area in Italy and one of the most densely populated cities in Europe.

Personal life

In August 1902, Prince Francis Joseph was in London to attend the coronation of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom as a member of the Austro-Hungarian mission. [10] On 11 September he was indicted in the Central Criminal Court on a charge that he had committed an act of gross indecency with a fifteen-year-old boy. [11] A 24-year-old man and a seventeen-year-old boy were also charged with conspiring together to procure the commission of an act of gross indecency. In opening the case, the prosecution said "the offense with which the prince was charged was far too common in London." [10] The Prince was defended by Sir Edward Clarke, the former Solicitor General. [10] [lower-alpha 2] A witness falsely claimed that he had made a hole in a bedroom door and that through the hole he had seen Francis Joseph and the fifteen-year-old boy engaged in sexual activity in a house in Lambeth. The witness's lies were undone by the police investigation. The police found that only nine inches of the bed were visible through the hole and therefore the witness could not have seen the matters as to which he had testified. The prosecutors therefore moved for a verdict of no guilt declaring that there was no evidence of guilt and the jury indeed pronounced Prince Francis Joseph not guilty. [13]

After the acquittal, his lawyer stated that the Prince had gone to the house "under the impression that it was a brothel and that a woman would be waiting for him there. It was not uncommon on the Continent for men and boys to go about touting to take men to brothels." The other man and the two boys were found guilty of conspiring together to procure the commission of an act of gross indecency. The man was sentenced to two years imprisonment, and the boys to ten and eight months each. [14] [13]

As a result of this indiscretion Francis Joseph was forced to resign his commission as a Lieutenant in the Seventh Hussars of the Austro-Hungarian Army. The prince was adjudged by an Austrian court to be of unsound mind and, for his protection, placed his affairs in the hands of a trustee, his brother-in-law, Prince Charles Louis of Thurn und Taxis. [15] Francis Joseph was later implicated in another homosexual incident in Austria. [16]

Victim of a swindle

Francis Joseph of Braganza Prince (brother-in-law of Anita Stewart) seated.jpg
Francis Joseph of Braganza

In November 1909, Prince Francis Joseph had £325,000 swindled from him after purchasing what he believed to be valuable emeralds and shares in an English mining company, by an impostor passing himself of as Frederick Dennehey Vanderbilt of the famous Vanderbilt family. [17] The impostor, whose real name was William Lackerstein Joachim, [18] first met the Prince in Paris in April 1909 and a month later Joachim traveled to Vienna where he threw a dinner for him. [19] Joachim managed to convince Francis Joseph of his credentials as an astute financier. [20] As Prince Francis Joseph's affairs had been placed in the hands of a trustee and he was only given an allowance, he saw a friendship with supposed millionaire member of the Vanderbilt family as a good way to boost his finances. In October after HRH returned from a trip abroad, [19] he received a number of business proposals where Joachim told him that he had recently acquired a large number of emeralds and that because he would allow Him to purchase the emeralds for a good price, whereby he could then sell them for a substantial profit. [20]

The deal was held up after Prince Francis Joseph did not show up for an arranged meeting at a banquet. [21] After an emissary informed Joachim that Francis Joseph's father had summoned him to his castle in Seebenstein, Joachim feared that he had been tricked. However, the next day he received a letter from the Prince in which he revealed his annoyance at being unable to attend. [20]

Joachim and Prince Francis Joseph next met in Berlin a week later to conclude the emerald deal. [20] However, during the delay Joachim had come up with a way to swindle more money out of the Prince. While in Berlin, he introduced HRH to two supposed mining engineers. [19] The two engineers made a good impression on the Prince, [19] so Joachim managed to get him to part with more money by acquiring shares in the mining company that he said he was the majority shareholder of. A total of £325,000, [20] £125,000 for the emeralds and £200,000 for the shares. [18]

As the emeralds and shares turned out to be worthless Prince Francis Joseph decided to prosecute criminally through the Austrian embassy in London. [19] The majority of his money was recovered. [18]

Titles and styles

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  1. His full given names were Francis Joseph Gerard Maria George Humbert Anthony Henry Michael Rafael Gabriel (Portuguese: Francisco José Gerardo Maria Jorge Humberto António Henrique Miguel Rafael Gabriel). [1]
  2. Sir Edward Clarke represented Oscar Wilde in his disastrous prosecution of the Marquess of Queensberry for libel, and representing the plaintiff in the "baccarat case", during which Sir Edward cross-examined the Prince of Wales. [12]
  1. da Silveira Pinto, Albano (1991). Resenha das familías titulares e grandes de Portugal. pp. xlii.
  2. 1 2 Almanach de Gotha (150th ed.). Justus Perthes. 1913. pp. 29, 30.
  3. Graham, Evelyn (2003). Albert: King of the Belgians. Kessinger Publishing. p. 46. ISBN   0-7661-6194-3.
  4. "REPORT EX-KING MANUEL ON SHIP OFF LISBON; If He Won't Take the Throne, It May Be Offered to Anita Stewart's Husband" (PDF). The New York Times . 23 January 1919. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  5. "MISS STEWART A PRINCESS.; Emperor Francis Joseph Confers the Rank in Her Own Right" (PDF). The New York Times. 7 September 1909. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  6. "Discipline for Princes". Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette. 1900-10-04. p. 4.
  7. de Saisseval, Guy Coutant (1966). Les Maisons Impériales et Royales d'Europe. Éditions du Palais-Royal. p. 428.
  8. "A Prince of Braganza. Swindled and Blackmailed". The Argus. 1919-08-30. p. 5.
  9. The Times (19 June 1919), p. 11.
  10. 1 2 3 "AUSTRIAN PRINCE ARRESTED -- He Is Charged with an Unexplained Form of Criminal Misconduct". The Indianapolis Journal . 12 September 1902. p. 5. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  11. The Times (12 September 1902), p. 10, and (13 September 1902), p. 4.
  12. Harris, Frank (1916). Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions. The author. p. 226. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  13. 1 2 Cook, Matt (2003). London and the Culture of Homosexuality, 1885-1914. Cambridge University Press. pp. 30, 65, 68. ISBN   9780521822077 . Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  14. The Times ( 13 September 1902), p. 4.
  15. A Veteran Diplomat (1909-07-18). "Where Americans Lose Caste". New York Times. p. SM2.
  16. Smith, Timothy D'Arch (1970). Love in Earnest: Some Notes on the Lives and Writings of English 'Uranian' Poets from 1889 to 1930. Routledge & K. Paul. p. 43. ISBN   0-7100-6730-5.
  17. "BOGUS VANDERBILT COLORED; Puzzle in Braganza Prince's Part in $500,000 Bill Transaction" (PDF). The New York Times . January 15, 1910. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  18. 1 2 3 "JAIL FOR BOGUS VANDERBILT.; Man Who Swindled Braganza Convicted In London on Another Charge" (PDF). The New York Times . 16 February 1911. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  19. 1 2 3 4 5 "PRINCE OF BRAGANZA TELLS OF SWINDLE | Induced to Sign Bills for Large Sums by the Bogus Vanderbilt. | MET NEGRO FIRST IN PARIS | Became Interested in His Mining" (PDF). The New York Times. 17 January 1910. p. 3.
  20. 1 2 3 4 5 "A Huge Coup" (254). NZ Truth. 7 May 1910. p. 6. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
  21. "ARREST IN BRAGANZA CASE; Prince Francis Joseph Accuses Agent of Man Who Called Himself Vanderbilt" (PDF). The New York Times . 20 February 1910. Retrieved 1 March 2019.