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Maria Sophia of Neuburg

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Maria Sophia of Neuburg

Maria Sophia of Neuburg
Queen consort of Portugal
Tenure 11 August 1687 – 4 August 1699
Spouse Peter II
Issue João, Prince of Brazil
John V of Portugal
Infante Francisco, Duke of Beja
Infante António
Infanta Francisca Xaviera
Infanta Teresa Maria
Infante Manuel, Count of Ourém
Infanta Francisca Josefa
Full name
German: Marie Sophie Elisabeth
Portuguese: Maria Sofia Isabel
House Wittelsbach
Father Philip William, Elector Palatine
Mother Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt
Born (1666-08-06)6 August 1666
Schloss Benrath, Düsseldorf
Died 4 August 1699(1699-08-04) (aged 32)
Ribeira Palace, Lisbon, Portugal
Burial São Vicente de Fora, Lisbon, Portugal
Religion Roman Catholicism

Maria Sophia Elisabeth of Neuburg (6 August 1666 – 4 August 1699) was queen of Portugal as the wife of King Peter II from 1687 until her death in 1699. A popular queen, she was noted for her extraordinary generosity and for being the mother of the famously extravagant John V of Portugal.


Maria Sophia was born at the Schloss Benrath outside Düsseldorf modern day Germany. Her father Philip William was the reigning Count Palatine of Neuburg. In 1685 he became the Elector Palatine following the death of his cousin Elector Charles II, an inheritance which subsequently increased the family's status within Europe. In December 1676, Maria Sophia's sister Princess Eleonore Magdalene was married to the Emperor Leopold I owing to the family's reputation as producing fertile women and the lack of heirs in Austria. The new Empress Eleonore Magdalene fulfilled her function and quickly mothered two future Holy Roman Emperors (Joseph I and Charles VI).

A similar succession crisis was occurring in Portugal. The Isabel Luísa, Princess of Beira, heiress to the throne and only daughter of King Peter II was childless and had been refused by most European sovereigns due to her sickly nature and strict Portuguese succession rights. As a result, with the encouragement of Empress Eleonore Magdalene, the Portuguese ambassador Manuel da Silva Teles was sent to Heidelberg to ask for the hand of Maria Sophia. The embassy left Lisbon on 8 December 1686 and the marriage contract was signed on 22 May 1687 and a dowry of 100,000 florins was agreed.


Following a proxy marriage on 2 July 1687 in Heidelberg, Maria Sophia left her native Germany the following August travelling up the Rhine receiving the honours of all courts along the river. At Brila, Maria Sophia embarked on an English yacht which was to be used at her disposal by order of James II of England. She was accompanied by an English fleet which travelled to Plymouth with the Duke of Grafton, son of the late Charles II of England, travelling also. The new queen arrived in Lisbon 12 August 1687 amid great celebration and the same day the couple were formally married by the Archbishop of Lisbon at the Ribeira Palace. Supposedly Louis XIV was "greatly chagrined" by Peter's decision to marry a daughter of the Elector Palatine and not another French princess, as he had hoped.[1]

The young queen quickly gained the affection of stepdaughter Isabel Luísa herself being merely six years younger than Maria Sophia. She was also loved by her husband who was quickly presented with a son the year after marriage. Despite this, the son survived only three weeks but a year later Maria Sophia had another son who would succeed his father as John V of Portugal who would marry his first cousin Maria Anna of Austria, daughter of Empress Eleonore Magdalene.

Maria Sophia was described as gentle, and Peter reportedly treated her with respect. While she clashed with her widowed sister-in-law Catherine of Braganza on matters of etiquette she was described as a popular queen who was decidedly generous and set about helping the poor of Lisbon.[2] Her pious nature also made her a popular queen. She was frequently involved with charities supporting widows and orphans and allowed poor patients access to medical care at the royal palace. She had a very intimate friendship with Father Bartolomeu do Quental, who died with the reputation of a saint. In Beja, she financed the foundation of a Franciscan school. She died in Lisbon of fever, possibly a symptom of erysipelas, on 4 August 1699, two days before her thirty-third birthday. Her body was laid to rest at the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora in Lisbon.


Name Portrait Lifespan Notes
30 August 1688 –
17 September 1688
Prince of Brazil and 12th Duke of Braganza; died young.
22 October 1689 –
31 July 1750
Prince of Brazil from 1697; and King of Portugal. Married Maria Anna of Austria, and had issue.
25 May 1691 –
21 July 1742
Duke of Beja, died unmarried with illegitimate issue.
A son
23 May 1693 Stillborn or lived a few hours.
15 March 1695 –
20 October 1757
Died unmarried and childless
Francisca Xaviera
30 January 1694 –
March 1694
Died aged two months.
Teresa Maria
24 February 1696 –
16 February 1704
Died in childhood.
3 August 1697 –
3 August 1736
Count of Ourém, died unmarried.
Francisca Josefa
30 January 1699 –
15 July 1736
Infanta of Portugal, died unmarried.


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 6 August 1666 - 11 August 1687 Her Serene Highness Countess Palatine Marie Sophie of Neuburg
  • 11 August 1687 – 4 August 1699 Her Majesty The Queen of Portugal and the Algarves


  1. ^ Stephens, 336
  2. ^ Thomson, 17


This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the Português WorldHeritage.
  • Triumpho Lusitano, applausos festivos, sumptuosidades regias nos augustissimos desposorios do inclito D. Pedro II com a serenissima Maria Sofia Izabel de Baviera, monarchas de Portugal, por Manuel de Leão; Bruxelas, 1688;
  • Heptaphonon, ou portico de sete vozes, consagrado à magestade defunta da senhora D. Maria Sophia Izabel de Neuburgo, por Pascoal Ribeiro Coutinho, Lisboa, 1699;
  • Sermão das exequias da Serenissima Rainha Nossa Senhora D. Maria Sophia Izabel, prégado na Villa de Santo Amaro das Grotas do Rio de Sergipe, por Frei António da Piedade, Lisboa, 1703;
  • Sentimento lamentavel, que a dor mais sentida em lagrimas tributa na intempestiva morte da Serenissima Rainha de Portugal D. Maria Sophia Izabel e Neuburgo, por Bernardino Botelho de Oliveira, Lisboa, 1699;
  • Oração funebre nas exequias da Rainha D. Maria Sophia Izabel, celebradas na Real Casa da Misericordia de Lisboa, por D. Diogo da Anunciação Justiniano, Lisboa, 1699.
  • Stephens, Henry Morse. Portugal. Putnam, 1903. The Story of the Nations. Google Books. Web. 27 May 2010. .
  • Thomson, Mark Alméras., Ragnhild Marie Hatton, and J. S. Bromley. William III and Louis XIV: Essays 1680-1720. Toronto: University of Toronto, 1968. Google Books. Web.
Maria Sophia of Neuburg
Born: 6 August 1666 Died: 4 August 1699
Swedish royalty
Preceded by
Maria Francisca of Nemours
Queen consort of Portugal
Title next held by
Mary Anne of Austria
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