The last king of Portugal, Manuel II, was forced to abdicate his throne as a result of Portugal’s Revolution of October 1910. He spent the rest of his life in London.
Manuel was the second son of Don Carlos the King of Portugal and his wife, Marie Amelie, daughter of the Comte de Paris, claimant to the French throne.
Manuel’s mother had been born at York House, Twickenham, in 1865. Manuel was born in Lisbon on 15 November 1889, barely a month after his father had succeeded to the Portuguese throne.
King Carlos I and his eldest son, Luiz, were both assassinated on 1st February 1908. The 18 year old Manuel, in training as a naval cadet, succeeded to the throne as Manuel II. His reign was brief. A Revolution broke out in October 1910 and he was forced to abdicate and flee Portugal.
Manuel and his mother fled to Gibraltar and from there to England. At first they settled at Abercorn House in Richmond early in 1911. Plans for him to marry an English princess would have added to his legitimacy to reclaim his throne. But England’s King Edward VII died in 1910 and with this distraction and the turmoil in Portugal, the British Government was disinclined to support his cause. Manuel did however always have the personal support of and a close association with British Royalty. Manuel married the German Princess Victoria Augusta of Hohenzolern in September 1913.
On the couple’s return to England they settled at Fulwell Park in Twickenham.
Fulwell Park has since been demolished and the land used for housing. The street names in the area include ‘Lisbon Avenue’ – see map here. One relic survives – the four ton safe that used to hold the royal jewellery at Fulwell Park is now housed in St Mary’s Church, Hampton.
The couple had regularly worshipped at St James’ Catholic Church in Pope’s Grove. They were generous supporters of the church and there are reminders of the Orleans and Braganza families there including the window to St.Anthony of Padua bearing the Braganza crest. Also the organ from Fulwell Park was donated to the Church.
York House, Fulwell Park, St Mary’s Church and St James Church are all marked on this map.
Manuel died at Fulwell Parl suddenly while apparently in good health in July 1932, aged 43 years. After a service in Westminster Abbey, his body was returned to Portugal and is interred in Monastery of São Vicente de Fora, Lisbon, which is the national pantheon of the Braganza monarchs.
There were no children of their marriage. The current pretender to the Portuguese Crown is Dom Duarte Pio, Prince Royal of Portugal, Duke of Braganza (born 15 May 1945), as the head of the House of Braganza. He lives in Portugal.
António de Oliveira Salazar became Prime Minister of Portugal in 1926.
The local Twickenham Museum has the full ‘King Manuel II’ story – see its website here.