Prince Rafael of Orléans-Braganza

As of July 2020.

See also:

Prince Rafael
Born (1986-04-26) 26 April 1986 (age 34)
Petrópolis, Brazil
Full name
Rafael Antonio Maria José Francisco Miguel Gabriel Gonzaga de Orléans e Bragança e Ligne
House Orléans-Braganza
Father Prince Antônio of Orléans-Braganza
Mother Princess Christine of Ligne

Prince Rafael of Orléans-Braganza (Rafael Antonio Maria José Francisco Miguel Gabriel Gonzaga de Orléans e Bragança e Ligne; 26 April 1986) is a member of the former Imperial House of Brazil, which reigned as emperors until 1889. As the younger but only surviving son of Prince Antônio of Orléans-Braganza,[1][2][3][4] he is expected to eventually take up the claim to Brazil’s defunct throne.[5] He is the only remaining male-line Vassouras claimant born after 1950.


Born in Rio de Janeiro, Rafael Antônio lives in the Itaim Bibi neighborhood of São Paulo, Brazil.[5] He graduated in Production Engineering from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. He speaks Portuguese, English, French, Spanish, some German, has lived in Paris, and travels to Europe annually on holiday.[5] A great-great-great-grandson of Emperor Pedro II, he grew up as one of four siblings, but is the only one remaining in Brazil. His older sister, Princess Amelia, who renounced her dynastic right of succession upon her non-dynastic marriage in 2014, took up residence in Spain, and his younger sister, Princess Maria Gabriela, lives in Belgium,[5] where their maternal family occupies Belœil Castle.

He works for AmBev – Americas’ Beverage Company in São Paulo where, previously, he was an intern.[5] He lives in a small apartment and has been quoted pointing out that at work he is just “Rafael” and takes orders from a boss.[5] Although his family claims inheritance rights to land and two palaces confiscated when his ancestor was exiled, the lawsuit has yet to be finally settled.[5] He visits Rio de Janeiro frequently, where the experience of having once been mugged neither dimmed his enthusiasm for the city’s attractions nor convinced him that it is any less safe than other major urban areas.[5] A sports fan, his pastimes include weekly soccer play.[5]

Heir eventual

Prince Rafael follows an uncle and his father as the heir to one of two disputed lines of succession to the Brazilian throne that was abolished in 1889, which is currently claimed by his childless uncle Prince Luiz of Orleans-Braganza[5] and, in rivalry, by his cousin Prince Pedro Carlos of Orléans-Braganza.

His older brother, Prince Pedro Luíz, was a passenger on Air France Flight 447, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean while traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on 1 June 2009.[6] His body was later recovered and interred. Although prior to his death the elder brother had been expected to take up the dynastic claim, he had impressed upon his younger brother the importance of the imperial legacy as a familial duty.[5]

The head of Rafael’s branch of the House of Orléans-Braganza, Prince Luiz (born 1938), shares a home in São Paulo with his brother and heir presumptive, Prince Bertrand (born 1941).[5] Prince Antônio (born 1950) is the only one of their six other brothers who did not have to renounce his succession rights upon marrying commoners, having married Princess Christine of Ligne in 1981.[7] Their son, Rafael, would be the first member of the next generation of Orléans-Braganzas to represent the dynasty as claimant to the throne.[7] He accepts that, unless the head of his house and other family members agree to change the dynasty’s rules, he is expected to marry a princess in order to transmit his traditional claim to future descendants.[5]

Having represented his family’s imperial heritage publicly since he was twelve, he also accompanies his father and uncles to official and monarchist events.[5] Although he has participated in public demonstrations against corruption in government, and adheres to the principles of equal opportunity and the right to better living conditions for the less privileged, he believes that he is obliged to abstain from partisan political activity in order to encourage restoration of the constitutional monarchy he still believes Brazil should consider as an alternative to its presidential regimes.[5]