On Tuesday, 10 January, King Felipe travelled to Lisbon, Portugal, to attend the funeral of former Portuguese president Mario Soares, who died on 7 January at the age of 92. He was accompanied by Alfonso Dastis, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Juan Manuel de Barandica and Luxán, the Spanish ambassador to Portugal.
They were greeted at the Figo Maduro military airport by Augusto Santos and Álvaro Sebastián de Erice, who are the Portuguese Foreign Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Portuguese Embassy.
The funeral of President Mario Soares was held in the Monastery of the Jeronimos of Santa María de Belém. King Felipe spoke with the children and other members of the family of Soares to express his condolences. This was the exact location President Soares signed, in 1985, the treaty to join the European Economic Community.
The Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonia Costa was unable to attend the funeral due to his current state visit to India that is taking place. He recorded a video, which was played during the ceremony, where he said about the former president, “He was the face and the voice of freedom in Portugal.”
There were hundreds of people who lined the streets outside the Prazeres Cemetery to say a final farewell to President Soares.
Soares was the first freely elected prime minister in Portugal after the overthrow of dictator, Oliveira Salazar in a bloodless coup in 1974. He was a co-founder of the Socialist Party and served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 1976 – 1978 and again from 1983 – 1985. Soares was President of Portugal from 1986 – 1996. For a time, he also was a foreign minister and MP in the European Parliament.
Before the funeral, the King had a meeting with the Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at the Palace of Belém. He also met the Brazilian President Michel Temer; President of the Republic of Cape Verde, Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca; President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz; President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, José Mario Vaz; and other foreign dignitaries.
King Felipe returned to Spain from the Figo Maduro military airport shortly after the funeral.