Sunday, an Airbus of Air France that left the Rio toward Paris disappeared over the ocean. The Flight AF 447 carrying 228 people, including crew and passengers. Most of the victims were French and Brazilian.
This tragedy is full of doubts to the authorities that continue to search in the Atlantic Ocean and they have a lot of questions:
Why the altitude of the aircraft was below the expected?
Why the pilot did the change of altitude?
What happened first, the electrical breakdown or depressurization?
Plus, how come an aircraft large as that with so many security systems simply “disappeared” (it was confirmed that none of the wreckage were found until now belonged at that Airbus) and why the crew did not request help?
While investigations continue, something “curious” about a passenger drew the attention of the Brazilian media.
One of the passengers of that flight was a member of the Brazilian imperial family. Direct descendant of Dom Pedro II (the last emperor of Brazil), Prince Pedro Luis de Orleans e Bragança, 26, was one of the victims of this accident. Moreover, the Princess Alice Maria de Ligne (considered one of the most beautiful women of Europe), which also belongs to the royal family in Brazil and Belgium, almost embarked with her cousin, but as all seats were already occupied, she was required to embark on another aircraft of the Air France.
Palace in Petropolis
You may be wondering: why the origin of that title or passenger may be considered strange? The answer is not simple and can show how Brazil is complex.
In 1993, all voters were required to vote in the election plebiscite on April 21 to make two choices, each presenting two options:
– On the form of government: monarchy or republic;
– and the system of government: presidential or parliamentary;
After verification of the votes, it was decided that neither the shape nor the system of government would be changed – the country remains a presidential republic. However, it was clear that there was a degree of dissatisfaction with this model. Interestingly, it was precisely in the nation’s wealthiest states (São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) in which the monarchist achieved more votes, about 11%.
Although currently there are no published studies on a change in the form of Brazilian government, I sincerely believe that the number of “monarchist” in the Central-Southern Brazil has increased. The discontent of the middle class with the current administration Lula is growing in this region (but that is the subject of another article).
But why there is a “monarchist movement” in Brazil? Who are the members of the Brazilian imperial family? What are the ideals upheld by the monarchist?
Before answering the questions above, it is necessary to contextualize the dear reader on some historical facts. The transfer of the Portuguese royal family to Brazil in 1807/1808 was because Portugal was trying to resist to the French occupation ordered by Napoleon. Some historians call this the fact that “metropolitan reversal”, ie, Brazil was a colony that became the capital of the Portuguese Empire.
The arrival of the Portuguese royal family (and its consequences) was perhaps the most important historical fact in nineteenth-century in Brazilian history. The fall of the “colonial pact” was the first step that allowed the formation of an “legitimately”elite in Brazil, enabling the declaration of independence of Brazil in 1822 (the proclamation of the republic took place only in 1889). Furthermore, when Dom Pedro II traveled to the Middle East between 1871 and 1876 for Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria, encouraged the migration of Arabs to Brazil (Brazil currently has 20 million descendants of Arabs).
Said that, few Brazilians, including myself, have access to information on the Brazilian imperial family. It is known that these noble and conservatives, very attached to the Catholic Church. It is also known that there are two “Houses” (internal division among them), with some living in São Paulo and another in Rio de Janeiro. They are very discrete and, because of an agreement with the Brazilian government, one of the “houses” of the imperial family is maintained by the federal government.
The wealth that these noble really have is unknown (or ignored). Moreover, they are exempt from taxes. Some noble say that they are receiving only $ 2,000 per month from the federal government…
But I think the amount quoted by them is little credible. If only in Rio de Janeiro’s state they “own” 542 thousand buildings, I believe that their monthly income should be well higher than what they say.
Anyway, this is just one more example of how things work in Brazil, the only country in the Americas that has and recognizes an imperial family in fact.