The Grand Ducal Family

H.R.H. Grand Duchess Maria Ana

Born on

13 July 1861

in Bronnbach, Germany

La Grande-Duchesse Marie-Anne

© Collections photographiques de la Maison grand-ducale de Luxembourg

Biography

Maria Ana, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Duchess of Nassau, born Princess of Braganza, was married to Crown Prince Guillaume IV of Luxembourg in 1893. She became the second Grand Duchess of Luxembourg following the accession to the Throne of Grand Duke Guillaume IV on 17 November 1905.

She gave birth to six children:

She died on 31 July 1942 in New York.

La Grande-Duchesse Marie-Anne
© Photographic collections / Maison grand-ducale de Luxembourg

Grand Duchess Maria Ana

Le Grand-Duc Guillaume IV et la Grande-Duchesse Marie-Anne

To find out more about H.R.H. Grand Duke Guillaume IV

Childhood and youth

Maria Ana was the sixth and second youngest child of the former King Miguel I of Portugal, Duke of Braganza, who lost his throne in 1834, and his wife Adelaide, born Princess of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg.

From 1868 onwards, Maria Ana attended the pensionnat des Sœurs du Sacré-Cœur in Montigny-lès-Metz and the Institute of Mary in Mainz from 1875 to 1879.

© Photographic collections / Maison grand-ducale de Luxembourg
Grand Duchess Maria Ana

Marriage and Regency

In 1884, she met her future husband, the Crown Prince of Nassau, Guillaume IV. Guillaume IV’s father, Adolphe of Nassau, was strongly opposed to a possible marriage because of the religious differences: Guillaume was Protestant and Maria Ana Catholic. However, in 1890, Adolphe became Grand Duke of Luxembourg, whose population was largely Catholic. This turn of events led him to accept his son’s choice of partner. The marriage between Guillaume IV and Maria Ana took place in June 1893. She became Crown Princess of Luxembourg and joined her husband at Berg Castle.

Immediately after being sworn in as Grand Duke at Hohenburg Castle on 22 November 1905, in the presence of a delegation of the Chamber of Deputies, in accordance with Article 5 of the Constitution, Grand Duke Guillaume IV’s health began to deteriorate. He was diagnosed with a serious illness in January 1906, which prevented him from coming to the Grand Duchy. It was only in 1908 that Grand Duke Guillaume IV and Grand Duchess Maria Ana were able to stay in Luxembourg for a short while, the time necessary for the Grand Duke to appoint Grand Duchess Maria Ana as his Lieutenant-Représentant.

© Photographic collections / Maison grand-ducale de Luxembourg
The Grand Ducal Family in 1906

On her return to Hohenburg in November of the same year, the Chamber of Deputies elected her Regent. She was the de facto Head of State of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg from 1908 until June 1912, when her eldest daughter, Marie-Adélaïde, acceded to the Throne upon the death of Guillaume IV. However, Maria Ana remained close to power, acting as advisor to the Grand Duchess, defending opinions that were considered dubious and often contested.

After the accession to the Throne of her second eldest daughter Charlotte in January 1919, she retired to Hohenburg.

Le Grand-Duc Guillaume IV et la Grande-Duchesse Marie-Anne

Exile in New York

On 10 May 1940, Maria Ana followed Grand Duchess Charlotte into exile in New York via France, Spain and Portugal. From October 1941, she stayed in the building of the Luxembourgish legation in Washington D.C. She died following an operation in a New York clinic on 31 July 1942 and was temporarily buried in the crypt of the Calvary Cemetery. In October 1947, her remains were repatriated to the Grand Duchy and laid to rest in the crypt of the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Luxembourg.

© Photographic collections / Maison grand-ducale de Luxembourg
Grand Duchess Maria Ana with her 6 daughters

Grand Duchess Maria Ana in pictures

Family Photo © Photographic collections / Maison grand-ducale de Luxembourg

Family Photo

Grand Duchess Maria Ana and Grand Duchess Charlotte © Photographic collections / Maison grand-ducale de Luxembourg

Grand Duchess Maria Ana and Grand Duchess Charlotte

Grand Duchess Maria Ana with her daughters © Photographic collections / Maison grand-ducale de Luxembourg

Grand Duchess Maria Ana with her daughters

Grand Duchess Maria Ana with her daughters © Photographic collections / Maison grand-ducale de Luxembourg

Grand Duchess Maria Ana with her daughters

Grand Duchess Maria Ana with her grandchildren © Photographic collections / Maison grand-ducale de Luxembourg

Grand Duchess Maria Ana with her grandchildren

 

See also:

Le Grand-Duc Guillaume IV et la Grande-Duchesse Marie-Anne

To find out more about H.R.H. Grand Duke Guillaume IV