King Carlos I of "Caldas da Rainha": The Man behind the crown!
King D. Carlos I and his importance in the Caldas da Rainha hot springs
An important protagonist in the history of Caldas da Rainha, but without being born here, was King D. Carlos I (1863-1908), one of the monarchs with a stronger impact in the local context and a great enthusiast and a frequent visitor to our village , especially during the bathing season.
Although born in Lisbon, since he was a little boy, with his parents (King D. Luís and Queen D. Maria Pia) and his younger brother (Príncipe D. Afonso), the then still Crown Prince D. Carlos frequented the spas caldenses.
Later, alone or in the company of Queen D. Amélia, and her children, the Crown Prince D. Luís Filipe and the Infante D. Manuel, the presence of D. Carlos I never ceased to be felt having even been, perhaps , the member of the Portuguese royal family who most often visited our land and who established a closer and empathic relationship with it only comparable to that of Queen D. Leonor ... five hundred years before!
King Carlos I of Caldas da Rainha
Prince D. Carlos would ascend to the throne at the end of 1889, having shortly afterwards been confronted with the consequences of the subordination in which he placed the nation after the British Ultimatum and which would be the lever for a growing Republicanism that, later, with the appointment of João Franco as the head of the Government, has become more acute.
The course of events would even result in the assassination of D. Carlos and the Crown Prince D. Luís Filipe, the Regicide of February 1, 1908, and the Implantation of the Republic on October 5, 1910. The origin of this outcome had also been the serious financial crisis that the State was going through and that contributed even more to the national instability.
Despite this adverse context, his connection to the city was positive for Caldas da Rainha, since with the accession to the throne his attention and visits continued, and his friendship with Rodrigo Berquó (administrator of Hospital Termal) between 1888 and 1896) and his admiration for this project for our spas, which in turn motivated him to decorate the hospital administrator with the Oficialato de S. Tiago, in 1892, and with the Order of the Order of S. Tiago, in 1893.
The birth of the Caldas da Rainha traditions
In the local social sphere, other friendships such as the one he had for Vitorino Fróis, one of the legends of the Chaldean bullfighting, are not to be overlooked, to which the monarch's enthusiasm for bullfighting trials is not alien, having also made his presence felt for watch bullfights on Caldean soil, having on one of these occasions offered a horse to the Caldense rider, Joaquim Alves, disciple of his friend Vitorino Fróis.
He also had a special friendship with Father António, a native of the village and who, according to the chronicles, was responsible for making divine delicacies with fish from the Óbidos Lagoon and which left D. Carlos with mouth water, he who was also known with a good appreciation of the best of national cuisine he had to offer and he did not miss an opportunity to taste Father António's delicacies.
The same complicity cannot be said to have with respect to master Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, who aimed at him in his satires published in the periodicals he created (A Lanterna Mágica, Pontos nos ii, António Maria and A Paródia, just to mention a few) .
In spite of the Bordeaux treats with which he was treated, D. Carlos respected him as an artist, having even acquired one of the most famous works of the master, Talha Manuelina, in 1893.
King Carlos I and Caldas da Rainha Lifestyle
King D. Carlos was still an adept at sociability, he liked to socialize with friends on several occasions and often with him some of those friends who lived with him came to visit our land.
Therefore, the worldly cosmopolitanism and thermal status of Caldas da Rainha had, in D. Carlos, a key element in its promotion and prestige, adding to this the fact that the monarch allowed himself to be identified with noblemen, fado singers and bullfighters, fostering his own insertion in the local community, making the local communities feel that D. Carlos was one of them.
In addition, D. Carlos had various hobbies such as hunting, horse riding, painting and the production of wine, cork and olive oil, but also sports activities where he stood out swimming, rowing, playing tennis or sailing.
He was one of the first to regularly practice all those sports, which made the monarch one of the first and most popular sportsmen of the time.
It does not appear that, in Caldense territory, he put into practice his sporting and artistic qualities as he regularly did in Cascais, Vidigal or Vila Viçosa, standing out above all as a bullfighter, one of the most popular activities in the local bathing season. and as an important part of the Caldenses social life.
King Carlos I and the City cosmopolitanism
Regarding the visits of D. Carlos, it is important to note that our land was prepared with pomp and circumstance for occasions that, in addition to the social component itself, also presuppose a perspective of economic return that was not to be overlooked.
An example of this was his presence in the then still village of Caldas da Rainha for the inauguration of the Santo Isidoro Hospital, by Rodrigo Berquó and for laying the first stone of the future Hospital D. Carlos (Pavilhões do Parque), in 1893, highlighting the local press the presence of more than five thousand people attending the event, at a time when the population of the county seat was around four thousand six hundred people.
In addition to the visits to the village, D. Carlos I was a friendly personality to the local community, consecrated in his choice, it is certain that by his friend Berquó, as patron of Parque D. Carlos I and the future but never finished Hospital.
King D. Carlos I was therefore an element of prestige for the village, a social attraction at a time when living with the elites and sharing their habits and practices were key elements of the social dynamism of tourism places and contributed decisively to the influx of visitors to those same places.