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Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa begin State Visit to Portugal

Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa

Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg have begun a two-day state visit to Portugal. 

In the morning of Thursday, 11 May, they landed at Humberto Delgado International Airport, near Lisbon, before they were escorted to Praça do Imperio (Imperium Square), where the Grand Ducal Couple and the Luxembourgish delegation received their official welcome from the Portuguese President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. 

The square is a national symbol built during the 1940 world expo to commemorate Portugal’s 800 years of independence. 

The royals’ next stop was in the adjacent Hieronymites Monastery, where Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa paid homage to Portuguese poet Luís Vaz de Camões before receiving a tour of the cloister, famous for its maritime decorations that pay homage to the country’s primary source of income at the time. 

The Grand Ducal Couple then travelled to the Belem Palace, the official residence of the Portuguese President, where the two heads of state and their respective delegations maintained a bilateral meeting “focussed on the Ukrainian conflict” and, more in general, on European and international challenges, according to the Grand Ducal Palace. 

The President and the Grand Duke then held a follow-up press conference, during which the Luxembourgish sovereign reminisced about the long history that binds the two nations together and the ties that still unite them to this day. 

In the afternoon, Their Royal Highnesses visited Lisbon’s Hotel de Ville, where the Grand Duke was granted the city’s keys, before giving a speech in which he talked about the role of Lisbon in a new era of Luxembourg-Portugal relationships. He said: “I sincerely believe that we are witnessing the beginning of a reform of our economic relations towards a long-term, ambitious partnership, in which the city of Lisboa will play a major role,”

It was then time for the royals to reunite with President Rebelo de Sousa, who escorted them on a panoramic tour of the city aboard the tramway line 28, a historic route that passes through the city centre and ends up at Lisbon’s Saint Lucia Terrace, where they could admire a breathtaking view of Portugal’s capital. 

As tradition mandates, the day was drawn to a close with a traditional state dinner. A majestic white tie affair, the event was held at Ajuda National Palace, and it saw Grand Duke Henri sporting the collar of the Military Order of Saint James of the Sword and Maria Teresa donning her favourite “Belgian Scroll Tiara,” made by Henry Coosemans in 1953 as a wedding present from the Société Générale to Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium, on the occasion of her wedding to Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg. 

The visit entered its more economic focus phase on the 11th with events that revolve around key sectors like tourism, digital and space. This is the second state visit that Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa have made to Portugal, the first one in 2010 – a clear sign of the importance of these bilateral relations for both countries.