In times of feminist movements all over the place, let’s talk about history, but most importantly, understand that women always had power and important roles in society.
Portugal, even if some professors of other countries try to diminish the contribution of my country to how we perceive the world today, was the first history global empire, and the older in the European context.
I am a true believer and advocate that we, women, we are what and who we are, and the power of creation or co-creation lives within us.
If we know the history or at least studied history, we can identify women who had important roles in their countries. And others because of marriage, in the destiny nations, introduced important revolutions at the society level, costumes, and traditions.
Let me introduce the Princess Catarina of Bragança, daughter of the King João IV and consort Queen D. Luísa de Guzmán. Catarina was the second child of the royal couple and born on November 25 of 1638.
Luísa de Guzmán, well know in Portugal as the power behind the throne was an attentive and strict mother with the education of her children. She was responsible for the alliance between Portugal and England through the marriage of Catarina and the British king Charles II.
The nuptial agreement between the countries contemplated: England secured Tangier and the Seven Islands of Bombay. Also trading privileges in Brazil, East Indies, and two million Portuguese crowns (approximately 375.323 dollars). In return, Portugal would have British military and naval support.
This agreement, although in the eyes of the current history, was considered disadvantageous for Portugal. At the time, it allowed the country to maintain independence from Spain obtained in 1640.
Described by the British writer, Lillias Campbell Davidson, as one of the best and purest women who has sat in the English throne with twenty-five years old arrived in England (1662), and lived there for thirty years.
Despite being hated by the English court and having been the target of several conspiracies, Catarina and her exotic looks conquered the king. And the English people. Many historians considered her an ugly woman because of her short stature, pale face, and dark black hair. But it is undeniable that Catarina changed the British court and society.
Unable to carry pregnancy till the end, which would be probably a hereditary disease, Catarina left the following legacy to the English Nation:
- The introduction of porcelain services and cutlery for meal
- The habit of drinking tea, known as the five o’clock tea with cookies
- Brought the first Italian opera to England, in Somerset House
- Orange marmalade
- Introduction of the hand fan as a fashion prop.
The propose of this article is to remember all of you two things. Firstly, long-distance relationships aren’t a new concept as you might imagine, even if we are talking in this case about arranged marriages or strategic alliances. Secondly, women always had important roles in society and the ability to change everything they touch for better.
I don’t talk about the fact that King Charles II had children from other women, because it isn’t important. I want to elucidate the character strength of this woman, who was in a foreign country. Without friends and language as a barrier, she managed to play such a significant role in British society and costumes. Herself was the passport for what would be than the English Empire.
I can’t fail to mention that the Queens district in New York is a tribute to this woman.
Out of curiosity, do you know who founded one of the most important museums in the world, the Prado museum?
Princess Maria Isabel of Braganza, daughter of the Portuguese King João VI and consort Queen Carlota Joaquina of Spain.