The title of the Duke of Cadaval was created by King Dom João IV on April 26, 1648, the date of the birth of Infant Dom Pedro, the future King Dom Pedro II. The first Duke of Cadaval was Dom Nuno Álvares Pereira de Melo (1638-1727),
son of Dom Francisco Manuel de Melo, one of the guiding forces behind the restoration of the nation’s independence in 1640, from whom Dom Nuno went on to also inherit the title of Count of Tentúgal and Marquis of Ferreira. Having amassed power, inheritances and titles, the first Duke of Cadaval became one of the most powerful members of the nobility in the kingdom, with his family’s involvement in the struggle for the nation’s independence since 1580, which culminated in the restoration in 1640, greatly contributing to his vast estate.
The Dukes of Cadaval share their lineage with the Royal House of Braganza, given that they are descended from the House of Braganza through Dom Álvaro, son of the second Duke of Braganza and his wife, Dona Joana, daughter of the second Lord of Cadaval. Every Duke of Cadaval descends from the first king of Portugal, King Dom Afonso Henriques and from the ‘Saint Constable’, Dom Nuno Álvares Pereira. The many privileges of the House of the Dukes of Cadaval included, among others, the right to appoint and confirm municipal councillors, while also being able to appoint magistrates, scribes, inquisitors, reckoners and other posts within the lands under their jurisdiction.
Since 1648 until today, the dukedom of Cadaval has been held successively by 11 generations. Dom Jaime, the 10th Duke of Cadaval, died in Lisbon, on August 01, 2001, and was survived by his widow, Dona Claudine, and two daughters,
Dona Diana, then unmarried, and Dona Alexandra. The current Duchess of Cadaval, 11th title holder, is the couple’s eldest daughter Dona Diana Álvares Pereira de Melo, HRH Princess Diana of Orléans, Duchess of Anjou, who married HRH Prince Charles-Philippe of Orléans, Duke of Anjou, descendent of the last king of France, Louis-Philippe, on June 21, 2008, at Évora Cathedral. The couple have a daughter, HRH Princess Isabelle of Orleans,
born in Lisbon, on February 22, 2012.