The original building on the site of The National Palace at Queluz was the residence of the first Marquis of Castelo Rodrigo who helped the Spanish crown annex Portugal. When Portugal achieved independence in 1640 the property was confiscated and given to Prince Pedro, later King Pedro I. It was a later member of the Royal family who really developed the property – King Consort Pedro of Braganza, the husband of Queen Maria I – intending it as a summer retreat for the family. Work started in 1747 and continued over many decades. The Portuguese Royal family eventually lived permanently in the Palace until 1807 when they retreated to Brazil during the French invasion.
The Palace is highly decorated and the state rooms are beautiful. The rooms are filled with light and everywhere one is conscious of the gardens outside.
The Sala das Mangas is the only room which is completely original because the Palace was devastated by fire in 1934 and of course restored.
There are many acres of grounds with fountains and a canal, and an elaborate hydraulic system for the water, as well as statues throughout. Sadly I did not have enough time to really enjoy the gardens which were still dormant – I would like to return in the warmer months.
The palace was expanded into a large complex when Queen Maria took up permanent residence in 1794, with additional buildings which included the Clock House (currently the Pousada de Reina Maria), the Military Barracks, and other buildings to house the members of the Court.
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The Royal Palace of Queluz