Cardinal Henry of Portugal
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Cardinal Henry of Portugal

Cardinal, King of Portugal
Cardeal D. Henrique, cópia de original de c. 1590.jpg
King of Portugal
Reign4 August 1578 - 31 January 1580
Acclamation28 August 1578; Lisbon
SuccessorAntónio (disputed) or Philip I
Born31 January 1512
Lisbon, Portugal
Died31 January 1580 (aged 68)
Almeirim, Portugal
FatherManuel I of Portugal
MotherMaria of Aragon

Henry (Portuguese: Henrique Portuguese pronunciation: [?'?ik(?)]; 31 January 1512 – 31 January 1580) was king of Portugal and a cardinal of the Catholic Church. He ruled Portugal between 1578 and 1580 and was known as Henry the Chaste (Portuguese: Henrique o Casto) and the Cardinal-King. As a clergyman, he was bound to chastity, and as such, had no children to succeed him, and thus put an end to the House of Aviz. His death led to the Portuguese succession crisis of 1580 and ultimately to the 60-year Iberian Union that saw Portugal share a monarch with that of Spain. The next independent monarch of Portugal would be John IV, who took the throne after 60 years of Spanish rule.


Born in Lisbon, Henry was the fifth son of King Manuel I of Portugal and Maria of Aragon.


As the younger brother of King John III of Portugal and a younger son in the Royal Family, Henry was not expected to succeed to the Portuguese throne. Early in his life, Henry took Holy Orders to promote Portuguese interests within the Catholic Church, then dominated by Spain. He rose fast through the Church hierarchy, becoming in quick succession Archbishop of Braga, Archbishop of Évora and Grand Inquisitor before receiving a galero in 1545,[1] along with the Titulus Ss. Quattuor Coronatorum. From 1564 to 1570 he was Archbishop of Lisbon. Henry, more than anyone, endeavoured to bring the Jesuits to Portugal to employ them in the colonial empire.

Styles of
Henry of Portugal
Ornamented Royal Coat of Arms of Cardinal Henry I of Portugal.svg
Reference styleHis Royal Highness[2]
Spoken styleYour Royal Highness[2]
Religious styleHis Eminence
Informal styleCardinal-King


Henry served as regent for his great-nephew King Sebastian, replacing his sister-in-law and Sebastian's grandmother Queen dowager Catherine, following her resignation from the role in 1562.[3] King Sebastian died without an heir in the disastrous Battle of Alcácer Quibir that took place in 1578, and the elderly cardinal was proclaimed king soon after. Henry sought to be released from his ecclesiastical vows so he could take a bride and pursue the continuation of the Aviz dynasty, but Pope Gregory XIII, not wanting to antagonize Philip II of Spain, did not grant him that release.[4][5]

Death and succession

The Cardinal-King died in Almeirim, on his 68th birthday, without having appointed a successor, leaving only a regency to care for the kingdom. One of the closest dynastic claimants was King Philip II of Spain who, in November 1580, sent the Duke of Alba to claim Portugal by force. Lisbon soon fell, and Philip was elected king of Portugal at the Portuguese Cortes of Tomar in 1581--on the condition that the kingdom and its overseas territories would not become Spanish provinces.


See also


  1. ^ Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church: Enrique de Portugal; Henry's brother Alonso had also been made a Cardinal, in 1517 at the age of eight. (Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church: Alonso de Portugal).
  2. ^ a b As King, Cardinal Henry deprecated the manner of address of "Your Majesty", considering it to be appropriate only when applied to God.
  3. ^ Disney, p. 174.
  4. ^ MacKay, p. 44.
  5. ^ Disney, p. 176.
  6. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Emanuel I." . Encyclopædia Britannica. 9 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  7. ^ a b c d Liss, Peggy K. (2015). Isabel the Queen: Life and Times. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 11. ISBN 9780812293203.
  8. ^ a b Stephens, Henry Morse (1903). The Story of Portugal. G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 139.
  9. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ferdinand V. of Castile and Leon and II. of Aragon" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 10 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  10. ^ a b Isabella I, Queen of Spain at the Encyclopædia Britannica


  • Disney, A. R. (2009). A History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire, vol. 1: Portugal. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-60397-3.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • MacKay, Ruth (2012). The Baker Who Pretended to Be King of Portugal. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226501086.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External links

Henry, King of Portugal
Cadet branch of the House of Burgundy
Born: 31 January 1512 Died: 31 January 1580
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Portugal
Succeeded by
Anthony or Philip I
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Diogo de Sousa
Archbishop of Braga
Succeeded by
Diego da Silva
Preceded by
Cardinal-Infante Afonso of Portugal
as Bishop of Evora
Archbishop of Evora
Succeeded by
João de Melo
Preceded by
Fernando de Menezes Coutinho e Vasconcellos
Archbishop of Lisboa
Succeeded by
Jorge de Almeida
Preceded by
João de Melo
Archbishop of Evora
Succeeded by
Teotónio de Bragança

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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