Alliance between Britain and Portugal

There is no friendship in the world so strong and so sure as that which unites Britain and Portugal

The Centenary Appeal aims to celebrate and promote the historic alliance between Great Britain and Portugal. This alliance is the oldest continual diplomatic alliance in existence between two countries in the world today dating back to the signing of the Treaty of Windsor on 9 May 1386.

It is a well-known fact that Portugal is the oldest ally of Great Britain. From the time of John of Gaunt in the Middle Ages; through Queen Catherine of Braganza (King Charles II’s wife), who was Regent of Portugal; to the Peninsular War when Wellington and the Portuguese Army held the line against Napoleon at Torres Vedras; through the reigns of King Carlos I and King Edward VII; to the exile of Portugal’s last monarch Manual II in England and throughout the period leading up to the restoration of democracy in 1982: Portugal and Britain have been united in countless ways.

The Alliance was invoked during both World Wars. The Anglo-Portuguese relationship grew particularly strong during World War I, when Portugal entered the war formally in 1916 on the side of the Allies and the Portuguese units fought alongside the British in Europe and East Africa. In World War II, Portugal remained on the same side as the British, as the Portuguese allowed for the use of the Azores Islands as bases for the Allies.

The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance has impressively withstood the passage of time and has remained intact. The two countries have extended their relations through their memberships to the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). These alliances have allowed for a significant volume of bilateral trade, foreign investment and tourism, setting the conditions for a mutual flow of the two countries commodities and nationals. As a result, there are vibrant communities of British nationals living, working and studying in Portugal, and vice versa.

Both countries have continuously enjoyed the bilateral relations by successive state and official visits of the respective Heads of States and Heads of Government. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II paid State Visits on two occasions in 1957 and 1985 and HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall paid an Official Visit to Portugal in 2011. Queen Elizabeth II also invited on a State Visit to Britain the then Portuguese President of the Republic, Mario Soares in 1993 and this was followed by an Official Visit paid to Britain by President Jorge Sampaio in 2002. Countless other visits by members of the Royal Family, prime ministers and cabinet ministers of both countries has been a regular fixture in the bilateral agenda of both countries.

This appeal seeks to commemorate, promote and revitalise the ancient relationship between Portugal and the United Kingdom. In doing so, it focuses on important figures and events that can draw together our two countries and peoples further strengthening our deeply rooted relations.