Bemposta Palace

Lisbon, Portugal

Bemposta Palace

The Bemposta Palace (Palácio da Bemposta), also known as the Paço da Rainha (Queen’s Palace), is a neoclassical palace in the area of Bemposta, now the civil parish of Pena, in Lisbon. It was originally built for Queen Dowager Catherine of Braganza on her return from London to Lisbon and served for many years as her residence. It was then transferred to the Casa do Infantado (the property of the younger son of the King of Portugal), before becoming the residence of John VI of Portugal until his death. After Queen Maria II of Portugal transferred its title to the Army, it became the Portuguese Military Academy.

Eight years after the death of Charles II of England (in 1685), who left no legitimate son as heir to the throne, Queen Catherine of Braganza, daughter of John IV, returned to Portugal in 1693. Without a home in Lisbon, she resided in the homes of various noblemen for a time, including the Count of Redondo in Santa Maria or the palace of the Count of Aveiras, in Belém. She decided to purchase from Francisca Pereira Teles, the noble homes and land in Bemposta area in the centre of Lisbon, in order to build her residence. A chapel dating back to 1501 existed there and she requested the architect, João Antunes (1642–1712), to incorporate a chapel in the site plan under the invocation of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Our Lady of the Conception). The project began in 1694, with Antunes coming on board in 1702, and by 1702 the Queen had already begun to live in the palace. The building was a mixed construction: limestone and marble was used in many of the flourishes, but the structure was built of reinforced steel, wood and masonry.

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