Duarte Martinez, a 31-year-old lawyer, will marry on Saturday the middle daughter of Duarte Pio, heir to the throne of Portugal, if Portugal were a monarchy.
Completely unknown until December, Duarte de Sousa Araujo Martins became the cover of a magazine after announcing his engagement to María Francisca de Bragança, the only daughter of the heir presumptive to the Portuguese throne, Duarte Pio de Bragança, and Isabel de Heredia. He sees himself as someone who will stay behind, but, like supporters of the Portuguese monarchy, he does not see the wedding on Saturday 7 October as just a wedding with a TV broadcast and 1,200 guests. “The public display of the wedding has an impact and I hope it will be positive to advance the cause,” he told CNN Portugal.
“Regardless of the current political system, I believe that the Portuguese are closely linked to a unique and rare identity: we are a people connected to God, the Earth, our history and our culture. These are the elements that unite us in a special way with each other. I hope the wedding will strengthen the cause because it recalls “The foundations of this special identity that we have built and inherited.”
Lacking family titles of nobility and activity to support the royal cause, Duarte de Sousa Araújo asserts that his parents always “passed on traditional values, in conjunction with those who founded Portugal.” He explains: “I believe that parliamentary monarchy is a viable alternative political system, and that it is a strong guarantee of institutional stability and the protection of democratic values in any country. Please note that this principle is in no way inconsistent with the fulfillment of my civic duties, as a citizen of our Portuguese Republic.”
But in the groom’s family, without going back centuries, one can be found loyal to the royal cause: his maternal grandfather, João de Souza Araujo, painter of sacred art, as explained by Ambassador José de Poza Serrano, a specialist in European art. The royal houses who have devoted his professional life to diplomacy (and state protocol) and that these days he participates “as much as he can” in organizing this wedding.
The engagement was a ‘very big surprise’
Jose Poza Serrano says the announcement of the relationship “was a very big surprise.” “I always thought that Ms. Maria Francisca would get married abroad, but the lucky man was a Portuguese man,” he says. “They are a wonderful couple and you can see they are very much in love.” Those who have followed their story closely, like Poza Serrano, say they are “Catholic and have social concerns.” Like his bride, but at different times, Duarte de Souza Araujo volunteered as a student at the Catholic University, where he graduated in law.
After the wedding, Duarte de Souza Araujo Martins says he intends to remain at arm’s length regarding his future wife, María Francisca, whom he calls Chica (as in, the closest to him). “I’m pretty hands-on behind the scenes, and Chika is the one who has and will continue to take a more active role publicly: she’s the one who really stands out on topics that have more exposure and public exposure.”
Duarte de Souza Araújo is 31, five years older than his fiancée, and works as a lawyer. Their paths crossed in 2019 at a concert in Azitao. At the end of last year came the marriage proposal, which it was later learned was made on Mount Ramelo, the highest point of Timor – the country dear to the future father-in-law.
The last ten months – between interviews, photo shoots and preparations – will have given clues about what comes next. For his part, he confirms that the best decision he made was “to have complete trust in Mr. Dom Duarte and Ms. Doña Isabel. I do not have much interest in organizing events of this level…” but he is ready for changes. “Chika becomes my biggest priority. This, in addition to accompanying Chika in everything I can and everything I am asked to do, means having a normal marital life and dynamics and continuing to work for my family.
On the way to London
After the wedding, if Duarte Pio wished, he could cede the title of Duke of Coimbra, which Francisca had already used, to his son-in-law.
At the end of this year, the newlyweds move to London. He will continue his work as an attorney at Urrea Menendez, where he has worked for “more than eight years.” The bride, who is 26 years old, leaves behind her short career in communications agencies, to devote herself full time to her projects. Maybe, we will learn from Charities English,” believes Ambassador Poza Serrano.
Duarte de Souza Araujo Martinez explains the next steps. “Chika has two initiatives that I believe will have a very important social and cultural impact, and for which she has my full support,” the groom begins to explain. “The Infanta Dona María Francisca Award, an award given to Master of Fine Arts students at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Porto, will be promoted,” he says. “The initiative is very interesting and Chica wants to promote the project to include students from other faculties in the country. For this purpose, we are establishing an association (Associação Infanta Maria Francisca) that aims to help fine arts students design their works with national and foreign partners, as well as to help with financial support.”
“Part of our wedding gifts will be used to launch this project,” he reveals.
The event is multi-party – 1,200 guests – and international (since the Bragança family has family ties to royalty from all over Europe) and takes place on Saturday, at 3pm, in the Cathedral of the National Palace in Mafra. Although more than 300 years old, this will be the first time the national monument has hosted a “royal” wedding.
The event was organized by supporters of the royal cause, with a particular focus on the Royal Society of Lisbon and the Western Core. The Mafra Chamber took it upon itself to organize a popular celebration in D. João V terreiro in front of the palace with folklore groups. Outside, the bell will ring. Inside, the basilica’s six-member ensemble will resonate. After the ceremony, the newlyweds – who are already married – cut the wedding cake with all the gifts with a sword.
“Infuriatingly humble analyst. Bacon maven. Proud food specialist. Certified reader. Avid writer. Zombie advocate. Incurable problem solver.”