A palace fit for an English Queen

At the start of our walk I had no idea we would be discovering the home of an English Queen, I was too distracted by the Portuguese man of inexhaustible activity and what seemed at the time an almost impossible goal of completing the walk. StatueA horrid cold which had been slowing me down for a few days had finally taken hold. It was an effort to even get dressed, however I was determined we should do something as it was quite gorgeous out and this would be our last full day in Lisbon for a year. I managed to convince MrB I was up for a short stroll to one of Lisboa’s fabulous view points. Unfortunately I hadn’t quite taken into account the viewpoint I had set my heart on was located on one of the highest hills! Fortunately though there were numerous recovery points where we could stop and enjoy the views and tiles

Every hill has a view
Views of Castelo de São Jorge

Eventually we found ourselves at Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, and I must admit I was disappointed. It is meant to be one of the best view points in Lisbon, however I preferred the views we had enjoyed from the roof of the reservoir.


Maybe we should have timed our arrival for sunset, or maybe we should have kept it for a day for when I was feeling 100%. Whatever the reason it didn’t quite hit the spot for me, however it was from here that I spied a rather glorious building.

Ooh is that a palace?!
Can you guess which one has caught my eye?

I was intrigued as it seemed only yards from Campo das Mártires da Pátria. How one earth had we missed it. Clearly we needed to take a different route back.

It wasn’t long before we found ourselves in a wide road and in front of a rather splendid and large building, and then we spotted the statue. Excitement!

We had unexpectedly found a palace fit for a Queen! This had one been the home of Catherine of Braganza, King Charles II’s Queen Consort and also the royal who made tea popular in England. She had returned to Portugal eight years after the death of her husband King Charles II, and for a short while resided with Lisboa’s nobles. Eventually she purchased land here in Bemposta and commissioned João Antunes, one of the most important Baroque architects of his time, to build her a palace. It was and still is officially known as Palácio da Bemposta, but apparently it is more commonly known as Paço da Rainha, the residence of the queen.

On Catherine’s death in 1705 the palace was willed to her brother King Peter II of Portugal, and it remained a royal home and centre of administration until the mid 19th century when it became a military academy. And it is still a military academy today; providing officer training and education for both the Portuguese Army and the Republican National Guard.

We were surprised to learn, given its current occupants, that the palace is open to the public. Unfortunately though we were not able to able to take advantage of this as the days/times are very restrictive and we had a train to catch the following day. However we do plan a return visit, and so hopefully one of these days I will be able to show you inside. I say hopeful because I must admit I am not 100% sure we will be successful. The sign stating the opening times we noticed was temporary, and I have not been able to find anything online since which confirms the current status. However it is definitely worth a try as I have discovered photographs of the inside, and it looks stunning. If you want to have a go yourself at visiting it would seem the best time to try is a Monday afternoon. Good luck!


Author: BeckyB

It's a good life walking, cooking, photographing, volunteering, reading, blogging, and best of all spending time with family, friends & the cat!

26 thoughts

  1. I read an interesting (and very readable) book about Charles II by Jenny Uglow : A Gambling Man: Charles II and the Restoration. If any one is interested to delve deeper.

    1. I think most Queens had to be remarkable, but she does seem to have coped with quite a bit. He flaunted his mistresses in front of her . . .however despite it all it would seem it was a lovely story in the end 🙂

  2. It’s a beautiful bust, isn’t it? Monday afternoon seems a very odd time but you never know. 🙂 🙂 Portugal is full of wonderful surprises, isn’t it? You’ve reminded me of the house in Faro that I never did post. It was going to be one for your past and present series. Eventually… perhaps 🙂 And there’s a beautiful palace in Lisbon I’m set on visiting too, but no idea when that might be. Sorry I’m so late here. Internet is an absolute menace. 🙁 We’ve done a couple of walks and caught up with some lovely friends. A couple are coming for coffee this morning and the place is a wreck because Mick started scraping and filling on the patio and we’re part way through cleaning the tiles on the top deck. Good thing they know us! Want to put a date in your diary? We owe you dinner and it’d be a good excuse to visit Olhao. Haven’t made it so far. Sending hugs, darlin!

    1. I know we read the poster twice but definitely says Monday.

      yikes about internet, hope you sort it soon along with the tiles!

      And a dinner date sounds fabulous. I’ll email 🙂

  3. That’s amazing, Becky. (For some reason I am thoroughly caught by the way the crocheted lace is wrought on the queen’s dress!) I hope your cold is much better and your adventures continue!

  4. That’s a beautiful bust of Catherine. She looks very wistful, which is how I have always imagined her. It must have been hard to come to a strange country and a philandering husband. I feel duty bound, of course, to point out that she was Queen of more than just England!

        1. That’s very true!

          I think we described all three countries England, Scotland and Ireland (not sure what happened to Wales?!)

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