Dom Duarte Pio of Bragança is the 24th Duke of Bragança and the presumptive heir to the throne of Portugal. He is the eldest son of Duarte Nuno of Bragança (1907-1976) by his wife Maria Francisca de Orleans e Bragança, princess of Brazil. His baptism godfather was Pope Pius XII. Despite the fact that Portugal is nowadays a Republic, the Portuguese, who look at him like the living representative of their History, cherish the duke of Bragança.
Duarte Pio was born in May 15 1945, during his father's exile in Switzerland, in the Portuguese Embassy in Bern. In 1950 Portugal abolished the Ban Law, which excluded the Royal Family from the country, allowing the duke and his family to return. Duarte was educated in the Military College and graduated in Agronomic Sciences.
During the Portuguese Wars in Africa, Duarte Pio was an Air Force Lieutenant serving in Angola, between 1968 and 1971. Later he was connected with Angolan ethnic leaders, a fact that got him into trouble with the Portuguese Fascist regime. However, he proceeded with his contacts with local population, ethnic and religious leaders.
He inherited the Duchy of Bragança and the claim to the Portuguese throne in 1976, when his father died.
The most important social contribution of Duarte Pio was his efforts for the cause of East Timor then an oppressed province of Indonesia. Even before the political leaders of the world considered Timor an issue, Duarte Pio organized several national and international campaigns for the cause of Timor.
In May 13 1995, Duarte Pio married Isabel de Herédia, a Portuguese businesswoman. The ceremony, celebrated in the Monastery of Jerónimos in Lisbon, was attended by the principal Portuguese political figures, including the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic, and representatives of most European Royal Houses.
Three children were born from this marriage:
- Afonso of Bragança, prince of Portugal, Prince of Beira and future Duke of Bragança (born 1996)
- Maria Francisca of Bragança, princess of Portugal (born 1997)
- Dinis of Bragança, prince of Portugal (born 1999)