Formerly a convent belonging to the Congregation of the Oratory, the Palace of Necessidades (Palácio das Necessidades, in Portuguese), located in the Largo do Rilvas, a public square in Lisbon, Portugal, was built in the eighteenth century, by order of King João V, in gratitude for prayers answered by Our Lady of Needs, whose first devotional chapel stood on this site.
The palace became the residence of the kings of the Bragança dynasty, beginning in the reign of Maria II da Gloria, and all subsequent monarchs lived there, except for her son, Luis I, who preferred to use the Palace of Ajuda. Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, husband of Maria II, lived in this palace until his death, amassing a large collection of art, which would be dispersed after his death. The palace then underwent several renovations to accommodate the taste of the various monarchs who lived there, the most recent of which was carried out at the beginning of the twentieth century by Carlos I. He enlarged the state dining room because of the frequency of diplomatic activity undertaken there.
The palace was the scene of memorable events in Portuguese history, some momentous, some tragic, some slightly ridiculous. One famous example: the king, Pedro V, had installed in the front door of the palace a slot through which his subjects could, if they wished to, leave messages and complaints for the attention of the sovereign. The last significant event at the palace, which would also be the epilogue of the monarchy, was the joint funeral of King Carlos and his son, Prince Luis Filipe, on 8 February 1908, after their assassination by radical republicans. On 5 October 1910, during the Republican Revolution, the palace, because it was the official residence of the king, Manuel II, was shelled by the cruiser Adamastor, one of the ships stationed in the Tagus River. The salvoes caused some damage to the Palace, and one of the bomblets even reached the king’s private quarters on the first floor, but he had taken refuge elsewhere on the palace grounds. Thanks to the quick thinking of an employee of the building, who cut down the flagpole that customarily displayed the royal banner whenever the monarch was in residence, the Republicans were led to believe that Manuel II had abandoned his home. The king did indeed leave Lisbon a few hours later, and he took refuge in the royal palace at Mafra, 28 kilometres northwest of the capital.
Manuel II, the last king of PortugalSo ended the mission of this regal residence. Many works of art housed in the palace were the private property of Manuel II and followed him to his residence in exile in London.