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31 janvier 2012 2 31 /01 /janvier /2012 14:38




Infanta Maria Adelaide de Bragança van Uden turns 100

  January 31, 2012 at 12:00 am by  


On January 31st 2012, Infanta Maria Adelaide will celebrate her 100th birthday, she is the sole surviving granddaughter of King Miguel I of Portugal.



Infanta Maria Adelaide is the daughter of Miguel II, Duke of Bragança and Princess Maria Theresa of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg, and was born January 31st 1912 in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France, with Dom Manuel II and Queen Amelia as her godparents. The Infanta, along with her siblings and parents, spent her early life in Seebenstein, Austria, in fairly good conditions until the Austrian Monarchy collapsed due to World War I. The Braganças lived tough times and had to wait on line for food with the masses of people, not afforded any special privileges for their royal titles. The Infanta said she never went hungry because she was young, but that her older siblings including Duarte, Duke of Bragança (Duarte Pio’s father) did go hungry many times.

Even with all the difficulties she went through in her young life the Infanta always strived to help others. She wanted to become a nurse and went to study nursing in Vienna, where she lived in university housing while completing her degree. When Nazis occupied Vienna, Maria Adelaide joined the Nazi Resistance movement and offered care to war victims, because of this she was jailed and sentenced to death by the Nazis. Salazar, the Portuguese Prime Minister at the time, intervened and had her set free. Throughout this time she met a medical student, Nicolas van Uden, whom she married October 13th, 1945 in Vienna.

The couple had six children: Adrian Sergio in 1946, Nuno Miguel in 1947, Francisco Xavier in 1949, Filipa Teodora in 1951, Miguel Inacio in 1953 and Maria Teresa in 1956, all with the surname “de Brangança van Uden”. The young couple thought of moving to Africa, but where convinced by members of her family to move to Portugal, which she did in 1949, with special permission from Salazar, as the Banishment Law which banned all members of the Bragança dynasty from entering Portugal was not repealed until a year later.

In Portugal, her husband worked in scientific research, and she started the Dom Nuno Alvares Pereira Foundation. The foundation is aimed at helping poor mothers and pregnant women and abandoned and orphaned children. She is known amongst all to be a caring and selfless person, always putting others before herself. Due to this special anniversary, the President of the Republic has conceded the Order of Merit to the Infanta for her dedication to other along her whole life.

On January 31st there will be a mass at the Church of Bom Sucesso to celebrate the Infantas life, followed by a dinner at the Cultural Center of Belem. The dinner and mass are open to the public with the dinner having a fee of 20 euros for all who want to attend.

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