Maria Ana of Portugal, wife of King Georg of Saxony
Infanta Maria Ana of Portugal was the wife of Prince Georg, who later became King Georg of Saxony. She was born Infanta Maria Ana Fernanda Leopoldina Micaela Rafaela Gabriela Carlota Antónia Júlia Vitória Praxedes Francisca de Assis Gonzaga in Lisbon, Portugal on August 21, 1843. Maria Ana was the daughter of Queen Maria II of Portugal and Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. She had ten siblings:
- King Pedro V of Portugal (1837) – married Princess Stephanie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, no issue
- King Luís I of Portugal (1838) – married Princess Maria Pia of Savoy, had issue
- Infanta Maria (1840) – died at birth
- Infante João (1842) – unmarried
- Infanta Antónia (1845) – married Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern, had issue
- Infante Fernando (1846) – unmarried
- Infante Augusto (1847) – unmarried
- Infante Leopoldo (1849) – died at birth
- Infanta Maria (1851) – died at birth
- Infante Eugénio (1853) – died at birth
Maria Ana was just ten years old when her mother died, and her elder brother Pedro became King of Portugal. Despite her young age, she served as the leading lady of the Portuguese court until Pedro married Stephanie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in 1858.
The following year, on May 11, 1859, Maria Ana married Prince Georg of Saxony at Belém Palace in Lisbon. He was the son of King Johann of Saxony and Princess Amalie Auguste of Bavaria, and at the time was second in the line to the Saxon throne, behind his older brother, Albert. The couple had eight children:
- Marie Johanna (1860) – died in childhood
- Elisabeth Albertine (1862) – died in childhood
- Mathilde Marie (1863) – unmarried
- King Friedrich August III (1865) – married Archduchess Luise of Austria, Princess of Tuscany, had issue
- Maria Josepha (1867) – married Archduke Otto Franz of Austria, had issue
- Johann Georg (1869) – married (1) Duchess Maria Isabella of Württemberg, no issue; (2) Princess Maria Immaculata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, no issue
- Maximilian Wilhelm (1870) – unmarried
- Albert Karl (1875) – unmarried
Despite their large family, the marriage proved to be an unhappy one. Georg made little effort to support his wife in her new country, and failed to live up to her expectations. Very pious and preferring private life to that of the court, Maria Ana’s primary focus was raising her family, and supporting several religious and social organizations.
Maria Ana died in Dresden on February 5, 1884, after several months of caring for her youngest son, Albert, who had been in very ill health for some time. She is buried in the Wettin Crypt at the Dresden Cathedral, formerly known as the Katholische Hofkirche (Catholic Church of the Royal Court of Saxony). She was survived by six of her children, and her husband who remained unmarried for the rest of his life. Eighteen years after Maria Ana’s death, Georg became King of Saxony, reigning just two years. Her eldest son then became King Friedrich August III, the last King of Saxony.