Portugal's mad Queen


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History Today
Vol. 57, no. 12 (December 2007), p. 32-38


Two hundred years ago this month a French invasion force marched into Portugal, the first hostility of what would become the Peninsula War. Napoleon insisted that Portugal (a neutral country) must close its ports to British shipping. When it failed to comply the invading army was given orders to march on Lisbon and seize the royal family. On November 27th 1807 the Queen and her family fled to Brazil. By this time, Maria I of Portugal (1734-1816) had been mad for more than 15 years. Jennifer Roberts tells the story