Brasilia: The heart of Portuguese monarch Dom Pedro I, who declared Brazilian independence from Portugal 200 years ago and become emperor of Brazil, has arrived from Portugal and will be put on display as part of independence anniversary celebrations.
The heart has been kept in an urn with formaldehyde in the Portuguese city of Porto since Pedro’s death in 1834 in Portugal at the age of 35.
The Portuguese government agreed to lend the heart to Brazil for three weeks for the bicentennial celebration. The Brazilian air force flew it to Brasilia, where it was received by the country’s defence minister.
Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro will receive the relic next Tuesday at the presidential palace with military honours and a gun salute – a ceremony fit for state visits by foreign dignitaries – before putting it on public display at the Foreign Ministry until Independence Day on September 7.
Pedro’s declaration of independence from Portugal, which is acclaimed by Brazilian nationalists as the birth of their country, was an act of defiance against his father, Portuguese King Joao VI.
The Portuguese royal family was escorted to safety in Brazil by the British Navy in 1807 before Napoleon’s forces invaded Portugal. On returning to Lisbon in 1821, Joao VI left his son Pedro as prince regent of Brazil. Pedro I abdicated in 1831 leaving his five-year-old son, Don Pedro II, in charge. Pedro II was crowned at 15. He reigned for 58 years until Brazil became a republic in 1889.
Pedro I’s heart was separated in 1834 and kept in a church in Porto according to this last wishes. His remains were donated to Brazil in 1972 for the 150th commemoration of Brazilian independence and are kept in a museum in Sao Paulo.