Son of Dona Maria II and D Fernando II, D. Pedro V had a careful moral and intellectual education, studying among other disciplines, natural sciences, philosophy, writing and languages. From an early age he showed remarkable intelligence: at the age of two he spoke German and French and at the age of twelve he mastered Greek and Latin, and he also knew English.
He traveled to several countries and tried to bring to Portugal the modernity and evolution he found in these trips, he was liberal and innovative but also charitable and concerned with his people. He inaugurated the first telegraph in Portugal and also the railroad between Lisbon and Carregado and was called “O rei Santo” the king saint because he refused to leave Lisbon during the cholera and yellow fever epidemics from 1853 to 1857 where he provided direct assistance to the victims and created the D. Pedro V asylum to welcome the orphans, giving them primary education and teaching them a trade.
D. Pedro V had no great matrimonial interests, refusing his first promised wife but finally accepting his second, Estefânia de Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.
In April 1858, King D. Pedro V and Queen D. Estefânia were married by Proxy, but they only met a month later.
The wedding took place on May 18, 1858, at the church of São Domingos, in Lisbon. The entire city was ready to host the event.
In order to please his future wife, D. Pedro V ordered to make one of the most expensive jewels in the Portuguese Crown in his name and specifically for his wedding. A diadem with more than 4,000 diamonds and it is here, that according to the people, the misfortune of this love story begins.
At the time, diamonds should not be used by virgin women at the wedding and as if that was not an omen, the jewel was so heavy that it made an open wound on the Queen’s forehead. When they left their marriage with blood running down the people dictated their sentence: “Oh poor… she will die!
However, for D Pedro V, after meeting D. Estefânia, everything changed: the couple seemed in love, they walked hand in hand through the gardens of Sintra and Benfica.
But the queen needed to get pregnant. A year after the wedding, the queen felt bad and was hospitalized. At just 22 years of age, the queen died of diphtheria that was contracted at a railroad inauguration in Alentejo.
The husband stayed at the head of her bed, without sleeping, for two whole days. The doctors of the royal house performed an autopsy, but its result was not made public until 50 years later in an article by the famous doctor Ricardo Jorge: the queen died virgin!
On the day of the funeral, Estefânia took with her the precious jewel that on arrival at the place was exchanged for a crown of orange flowers … the jewel, worth 86,953,645 reis, was never seen again.
D. Pedro, sad with the loss of his great love, died on November 11, 1861, at the age of 24. He died of typhoid fever, which he contracted from drinking contaminated water during a hunt.