Porto City Hall pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

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Porto City Hall building displays two images of HM Queen Elizabeth II in the official visits she made to the city of Porto, in 1957 and 1985. The images can be seen from Avenida dos Aliados until the 20th of September, fulfilling the three days of national mourning in Portugal, for the death of the monarch, who reigned for 70 years.

The Queen officially visited Porto, with Prince Philip, on 21 February 1957 and 29 March 1985. The photographs are from Arquivo Municipal do Porto and were chosen to pay tribute to the special relationship between Porto and the United Kingdom, during one of the longest reigns in history.

In 1957, aged 30, Queen Elizabeth II began her first official visit to Portugal. On February 21, she had lunch at Palácio da Bolsa and visited the Feitoria Inglesa do Porto. In a convertible car, the couple was warmly welcomed by the people of Porto, who gathered massively on the streets of the historic center to see the monarchs. Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh returned that same day to London, travelling to the airport via Foz do Porto and Matosinhos.

On her second visit, on March 29, 1985, Queen Elizabeth II, always accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, was distinguished by the Porto City Hall, receiving the keys to the city. Walking through a flower carpet, Elizabeth II also saw a parade of “rabelos” boats on Ribeira, had lunch at Casa do Infante and visited the exhibition “Os Ingleses e o Porto”, at Palácio da Bolsa.

The Royal couple was accompanied by the President of the Republic of Portugal, Ramalho Eanes, by Portugal’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jaime Gama, and by the representative of Porto City Hall, Carlos Brito (replacing Paulo Vallada, Mayor of Porto from 1983 to 1985, who was not present at the ceremony for health reasons). Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were very friendly to the crowd that applauded them, while, once again, Porto received them with enthusiasm.

By including Porto in the program of her two visits to Portugal, Elizabeth II wanted to highlight the city’s special relationship with the United Kingdom. The Douro wine trade, since the 18th century, motivated the settlement of an important British community in Porto. English traders then dominated Port Wine exports, due to the signing, in 1703, of the Methuen Treaty.

The British Community took rout in the city and had an influence that is still felt today in Porto’s economic, social, political, and cultural life. The English and their descendants have a strong presence in strategic sectors of the city, such as wine, tourism, or real estate.