The last Portuguese monarch sought to keep the collections and the assets of the House of Bragança intact, so he requested the establishment of various bodies to serve this initial purpose, bequeathing all of his goods to the Museum of the House of Bragança, and thus to “my beloved homeland”.
As such, the Portuguese Government passed legislation in order to comply with the King’s wishes. Decree 23240, drafted by the Ministry of Finance, was published in Series I, 266 of the Government Gazette of 21 November 1933, rendering the Foundation legal.
Once it had been constituted, the Foundation required another legal instrument in order to ‘acquire the right of use’ from the two queens, Amélie and Augusta Victoria, and to become fully operational. The Portuguese Government again passed legislation to this effect, publishing Decree 33726, again devised by the Ministry of Finance, in Series I, no. 116 of the Government Gazette of 21 June 1944, which authorised this acquisition, together with a loan to the Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Crédito e Previdência for this purpose. This loan was made out for 20 years and was fully paid off in 1964.
The decrees also provided for the constitution of the Junta da Casa de Bragança committee and its Administrative Council, which oversee the aims of the Foundation as a private and exclusively Portuguese body.
In addition, according to Decree 38848 of 4 August 1952, a duly justified unanimous decision by the Junta da Casa de Bragança would allow this body to ‘carry out any actions that are appropriate by virtue of the historical nature of the Fundação da Casa de Bragança’.
The aims of the Foundation essentially arise from the aforementioned Decree 23240, which states that the Foundation shall consist of:
the museum and library of the House of Bragança, located at the Palace of Vila Viçosa;
the King Carlos I Agricultural School, located in Vendas Novas;
a fund, the proceeds of which will be invested for Portuguese charity and public utility institutions, in particular the Misericórdia de Vila Viçosa.
The Foundation was deemed to be a collective person of public interest by order of the Prime Minister on 12 July 1982, published in Series II of the Official Gazette on 23 July 1982 under Articles 2 and 3 of Decree 460/77 of 7 November 1982. The status of public utility was confirmed by Order no. 1734/2013 of the Secretary of State of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, published in the Official Gazette no. 21, Series II, Part C, on 30 January 2013.