Uncrowned Kings: rituals and ritual objects in the Portuguese royal acclamation ceremonies (XVIII-XIX centuries)

Miguel Metelo de Seixas, Isabel Corrêa da Silva

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This article examines the royal acclamation ceremonies of the Portuguese crown to understand the responsiveness of the monarchical institution and the regime to the challenges of modernity throughout the delicate period of the historical watershed of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The Portuguese catholic and absolutist monarchy of the Ancien Régime used strict protocol and a set of insignia of power that acted together at the moment of the acclamation and legitimacy of each new king. The purpose of our research is to ascertain the adaptation and reinvention of these insignia and rituals according to the demands of democratisation and secularisation brought about by the period of turmoil from the beginning of the nineteenth century which included: three French military invasions (1807-1811); the departure of the royal family, court and administration to Brazil (1808); the liberal constitutional revolution (1820); and the civil war between liberals and absolutists (1828-34).
The new constitutional monarchy that emerged from this revolutionary current faced many challenges to its legitimisation, including the test for its capacity to create a modern royal vision adequate to the cultural mentality of national and secular societies and capable of bonding rulers with their people. We believe that the study of the acclamation ceremonial objects of the Portuguese constitutional monarchy can give us an accurate perspective on the quality of the symbolic image of the crown, thereby assessing the political efficiency of rituals as one of the structural aspects of institutional legitimisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-49
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Review Of History-Revue Europeenne D Histoire
Issue number1
Early online date10 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Acclamation ceremonies
  • Portuguese monarchy
  • insignia
  • rituals


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