The Beginnings of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance

The formal beginning of the Anglo-Portuguese alliance, the oldest diplomatic alliance still in force, dates back to the second half of the fourteenth century. The Anglo-Portuguese friendship is even older and dates back at least to the twelfth century. Also dating from the twelfth century is a well-known episode during the Second Crusade. In 1147 a group of crusaders on their way to the Holy Land from England and Northern Europe stopped at the port in the city of Oporto and helped D. Afonso Henriques reconquer Lisbon(1). Afterwards, most of the crusaders proceeded to the Holy Land, but a group of Englishmen remained in Portugal, among them Gilbert de Hastings, the new Bishop of Lisbon. 

Since this episode, the friendship between Portugal and England developed steadily through periods of greater and lesser proximity. This friendship can be attested by two letters, dated June 1199, in which John, King of England, refers to the King of Portugal as karissimi fratis nostri & amici Regis Portigalen and awards the highest honors to the ambassadors of Portugal(2). Trade relations were reinforced by the 1352 Anglo-Portuguese treaty signed between King Edward III and Afonso Martins Alho, the latter representing merchants and sailors of Portugal. 

It was in the second half of the fourteenth century that relations between both countries gained greater stability. The legal foundations of the Anglo-Portuguese alliance are found in three treaties dating from that period: the Treaty of Tagilde (10 July 1372), the Treaty of London (16 June 1373), and the Treaty of Windsor (9 May 1386).

Treaty of Tagilde 

Treaty of Tagilde, 1372. Duchy copyright material in The National Archives is the property of Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Her Duchy of Lancaster and is reproduced by permission of the Chancellor and Council of the Duchy of Lancaster.


The Treaty of Tagilde(3), signed by D. Ferdinand I of Portugal and the representatives of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and son of Edward III of England, on 10 July 1372 is considered the preamble of the alliance that still prevails today(4). This treaty, signed at the Church of São Salvador of Tagilde (Vizela municipality, Braga district), sealed the alliance of the two claimants to the Castilian throne.

The context of the Treaty of Tagilde was the Hundred Years’ War and the disputes over the Castilian throne between two brothers. D. Pedro, who had been stripped of the Castilian crown by D. Enrique de Trastámara, his illegitimate brother, gained English support to recover it from D. Enrique, who had the support of France. At the battle of Montiel (1369), D. Pedro was killed and D. Ferdinand I of Portugal, the legitimate great-grandson of D. Sancho IV of Castile, declared war on D. Enrique.

It was under these circumstances that an embassy arrived in Portugal from John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, among whose ambassadors were João Fernandes Andeiro and Roger Hoor. The Duke of Lancaster had married D. Pedro’s daughter Constance in 1371 and therefore had pretensions to the Castilian throne. The ensuing Treaty of Tagilde determined that the King of Portugal and the Duke of Lancaster were true friends and that they would wage simultaneous war against Castile and Aragon on two fronts: the English on the north and the Portuguese on the west(5).

D.Ferdinand, shortly after signing the Treaty, sent two ambassadors, Vasco Domingues and João Fernandes Andeiro, to the Duke of Lancaster in England to swear and sign the Treaty of Tagilde(6), which they duly did at the Savoy Palace(7). These ambassadors also carried powers to make complementary alliances with King Edward III of England and the Prince of Wales(8). These negotiations resulted in the Treaty of London of 16 June 1373.

Dom Fernando, King of Portugal, and Queen Eleanor to  John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, requiring the confirmation of the Treaty of Tagilde, November 1372. 

Duchy copyright material in The National Archives is the property of Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Her Duchy of Lancaster and is reproduced by permission of the Chancellor and Council of the Duchy of Lancaster.



Treaty of London

The Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Alliance between King Ferdinand I and Queen Leonor of Portugal and King Edward III of England was agreed in perpetuity on 16 June 1373 at St. Paul’s Cathedral(9). It is considered the main legal foundation of the Anglo-Portuguese alliance and quotes the Treaty of Tagilde as its precedent, while presenting itself as an extension of those clauses(10). Its four clauses include the declaration of mutual and perpetual peace, friendship, union and alliance between the two parties, the commitment by both parties not to establish friendship with the enemies and persecutors of the other party, and the reciprocal obligation of assistance with military aid, or any other type of aid, for the need to defend the kingdom, provinces, dominions and places in the event of offence, oppression or invasion by land or sea. This treaty, with no revisions, has subsequently been confirmed on several occasions(11).


Treaty of Windsor 

Treaty of Windsor, 1386 © Crown copyright. Licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. (

On 9 May 1386, the Treaty of Windsor between John I of Portugal and Richard II of England was signed in perpetuity, ratifying the ‘perpetual league, friendship and confederation’ between the two monarchs, with the obligation of mutual aid(12). This treaty has greater breadth of content than the two previous treaties, as it enshrines in its articles the freedom of trade and transit for natives of each party in the territory of the other party ‘as if they were its natives’(13).

One of the first practical consequences of this treaty was to propitiate the beginning of diplomatic negotiations for the marriage between D. John I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt. The marriage took place on 2 February 1387 and initiated a period of greater proximity between the two reigning houses(14). The alliance became even closer when the son of John of Gaunt, who was also brother-in-law of King John I of Portugal, became Henry IV of England. 

Santarém tells us that England’s alliance with Portugal was so close from the last half of the twelfth century to the end of the fifteenth century that in the sixteen treaties which English sovereigns concluded with other nations, Portugal was always included as England’s ally and confederate(15). The fact that John I of Portugal was the first foreign monarch to become Knight of the Garter (1400) supports the claims of those who see the Kingdom of Portugal as England’s first political ally(16).

The Wars of the Roses initiated a new period in the parties’ relationship. However, the pact of ‘true, faithful, constant, mutual, and perpetual friendships, unions, alliances, and deeds of sincere affection’ described in Article I of the Treaty of London has continued. In fact, since then the alliance has been embodied in a considerable range of Anglo-Portuguese treaties and confirmed on successive occasions, the last formal one in 1914.

With the benefit of hindsight, we agree with the affirmation of English historian Richard Lodge who said ‘there is no state in Europe with which our relations have been on the whole so continuously intimate and friendly’(17) and also with Winston Churchill who described the alliance as one ‘without parallel in world history’(18). During more than six centuries of its existence, the Anglo-Portuguese alliance has survived the most challenging of historical contingencies, including two world wars, the rise and fall of empires, revolution and decolonisation, the multilateralization of international relations, European integration and the end of the Cold War. Today, in a context shaped by Brexit, we hope this alliance continues to inspire new chapters of friendship that will be celebrated for another 650 years.

Author of the text: 

Alexandra M. Rodrigues Araújo  (2020), Senior Research Fellow at Iuris, Faculty of Law, University of Lisbon.



1 The traditional version of this episode reports that the aid provided was a matter of chance: when the crusaders’ vessels landed for refueling in the city of Oporto, the Bishop of that city went to receive them and persuaded their leaders to help D. Afonso Henriques. A more recent version, based on a letter from Bernard of Clairvaux to D. Afonso Henriques, argues that this stop in Portugal was encouraged and planned in advance by the famous prelate. This would explain, among other aspects, the reason why this group decided to use the sea route to reach Palestine, while the majority of the crusaders who made up the Second Crusade travelled by land. Cf. J. Phillips, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the Law Countries and the Lisbon letter of the second crusade, [Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 48], Cambridge 1997, p. 485-497; H. Livermore, The Conquest of Lisbon and its author, [Portuguese Studies, 6], 1990, p. 1-16.

2 Cf. T. Rymer, Foedera, Conventiones, Litterae, Et Cujuscunque Generis Acta Publica, Inter Reges Angliae Et Alios Quosvis Impeatores, Reges, Pontifices, Principes, Vel Communitates: Ab Ingressu Gulielmi I. In Angliam, A.D. 1066, Ad Nostra Usque Tempora Habita Aut Tractata, Record Commission Edition, T. I, London 1641-1713, p. 76.

3 The National Archives (TNA): DL34/1/30.

4 Cf. S. Pinto, Tratado de Tagilde de 10 de julho de 1372, [Scientia Iuridica, Separata, Year II, 6], Braga 1952, p. 1-18.

5 Cf. P. E. Russell, A intervenção Inglesa na Península Ibérica durante a guerra dos cem anos, Lisboa 1955. pp. 221-222.

6 Cf. TNA: DL34/1/29.

7 Cf. Pinto, Tratado de Tagilde (supra, n. 4), p. 10-11.

8 Santarém, Quadro elementar das relações políticas e diplomáticas de Portugal com as diversas potencias do mundo: desde ó princípio da monarchia portugueza até aos nossos, v. XIV, Lisboa 1842, p. 55. 

9 TNA: E30/275.

10 Cf. M. Caetano, Aliança Inglesa, [Enciclopédia Luso-Brasileira de Cultura 1], Lisboa 1963, p. 1262.

11 Cf. Statement by Mr Anthony Nutting in the House of Commons on 12 May 1952, Anglo-Portuguese Treaty, 1373: 12 May 1952: House of Commons debates – TheyWorkForYou

12 TNA: E30/310.

13 The Anglo-Portuguese treaty of 20 October 1353 already enshrined this clause of free transit for people and goods. However, this agreement was valid for only 50 years. Cf. T. Viúla de Faria and F. Miranda, Pur Bonne Alliance et Amiste Faire: Diplomacia e Comércio entre Portugal e Inglaterra no final da Idade Média, [Cultura, Espaço & Memória 1], Porto 2010, p. 111.

14 Cf. H. Baquero Moreno, O Tratado de Windsor de 1386 no conspecto das relações Luso-Inglesas, [Coloquio Comemorativo do VI Centenário do Tratado de Windsor], Porto 1988, p. 216-217.

15 Cf. Santarém, Quadro elementar das relações políticas e diplomáticas de Portugal com as diversas potencias do mundo: desde ó princípio da monarchia portugueza até aos nossos, V. XIV, 2.ª ed., Lisboa 1865, p. CXLIII.

16 Cf. V. Shillington and A. Chapman, The Commercial relations of England and Portugal, London 1907, pp. 18-19.

17  R. Lodge, The English factory at Lisbon: some chapters of its history, [Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 16] London 1933 p. 211.

18 Cf. Speech, House of Commons Debate, 12 October 1943 



The Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Alliance, 1373

Treaty of Alliance, 1373. © Crown copyright. Licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0 (


“Between Edward III, King of England, and Ferdinand, King of Portugal and the Algarves, done at London Cathedral on June 16.

To all those to whom the present letters are presented, William, Lord of Latimer, Captain of War, Baron and Chamberlain to the King, and Thomas Junior, Minister of the Court of Canterbury, procurators and commissioners by the Most Illustrious Prince and most respectable Lord Edward, by Grace of God, King of England and France, deputies especially for the object of which below shall be treated until its conclusion, forever health and firm belief in the Lord.

For some time now, on behalf of the Illustrious and Magnificent Prince D. Fernando, by Grace of God, King of Portugal and the Algarves, and of His Most Illustrious Spouse, Queen D. Leonor, they have stood before the said Lord Our King their ambassadors, procurators and special envoys, the knight João Fernandes Andeiro, war captain, and the venerable and discreet man D. Velasco Domingues, chantre of the Church of Braga, exposing not only viva voce, but also by letters from the said King and Queen who presented the alliances, unions, confederations and connections of pure friendship that had begun, contracted and ordained between themselves the said King and Queen of Portugal, with the Magnificent Prince D. João, by Grace of God, King of Castile and Leon, Duke of Lancaster, much beloved son of the said Our King; and that not only for this reason, but also by the bonds of blood and ancient friendships, they had always retained, and still retain in their pious hearts, for themselves and their progenitors of respectable memory, an affectionate inclination, both towards the person of the said Our King, and towards his children, rights and subjects, and fervently caring for the happiness and honour of the same, wishing to oppose and resist the wickedness of their enemies and the fraudulent machinations and deceits cunningly employed against the said Lord Our King, their children, kingdoms, dominions and lands, desired cordially to pact and contract alliance, union, confederation and league with the same Lord Our King and his first-born son Edward, Prince of Walia, and more of the said Lord’s sons (with whom they had never hitherto contracted them) and with the Kingdom of England and with their future successors, whoever they might be in the said Kingdom and with the more lands and dominions, places, vassals and subjects who faithfully obeyed him, against all who lived or died of whatever state, condition, dignity, or pre-eminence they were, and their kingdoms, dominions, lands, provinces (excepting only the states of the pope) and presenting a sealed instrument of power of attorney from the said King and Queen, with the powers given by them to covenant, contract, conclude and ratify with due security the same alliance, confederation and league in the place and in the name of the said Lords Kings, with addition of the articles, covenants, conventions, conditions and clauses that each one of the parts, kingdoms, lands, provinces, dominions and subjects seemed to them to declare, as it was better stated in the content of the said instrument, they asked with repeated requests that on the said object it be declared, expressed and resolved what was the will and good will of the said Lord our King.

And the same Lord graciously heeding all that was proposed by the said ambassadors, after having well examined and considered, recognizing how generous and proper it is for a king to reward in the same manner, or better still, with sincere and pleasant affection, of mere self-possession, and with public praise and deeds of grace such generous offerings and how safe and firm it is in occasions of danger and adversity, and glorious in those of prosperity, that kings and princes who rule, should unite with each other by alliances, confederations, and leagues of pure friendship, by which the glory of princes and the prosperity of kingdoms are exalted by enjoying the pleasure of peace, the preservation and security of subjects are achieved, the malice of enemies is restrained and the infinite dangers that beset them are guarded against and prevented by means of the communication of counsels and aids, as the alternatives of the times attest, and master experience the most effective of all things, taking on the aforesaid prudent deliberation with the prelates and great ones of the kingdom and by common agreement with them, constitutes us as their true and lawful procurators and negotiorum gestores, and the organ of his voice to us, the above-mentioned William and Thomas, to contract, order and finalize with the precise firmness in his place and name, and in that of the Kingdom of England and of his successors therein, as well as of his lands, dominions, provinces, vassals and subjects, who are faithfully subject to him, the alliances, friendships, unions, confederations and leagues of pure affection with the mentioned gentleman João Fernandes Andeiro, corporal of war, and the respectable and learned man D. Velasco Domingues, chantre of the Church of Braga, procurators and envoys of the above mentioned King and Queen especially deputed for this object in place and in name of the same, of the Kingdoms of Portugal and Algarves, and of their lands, dominions, vassals and more subjects faithfully obedient to the said King of Portugal, with addition and interposition of the clauses, articles, pacts, and conditions that each of the parties and their successors, kingdoms, lands, dominions, provinces, vassals and subjects above mentioned seem convenient to specify in order to achieve comfort, prosperity and honour in any future times, as everything else is amply contained in the letters patent of power of attorney, which were passed for this purpose sealed with the great royal seal, which are transcribed below. 

Willing, therefore, we by duty of fidelity firmly obey the royal orders of the Lord our King and duly execute all that belongs to our office, after having taken in this respect the competent deliberation, have made, contracted and established to be inviolably observed, and for ever and ever (God permitting), the present alliance, confederation, friendship, union and league of pure affection with the above mentioned ambassadors, and by express consent of the same, in the place and in the name of their kings, in the following form and manner: 


Item. We first ordain and agree that between the said Lord Edward, King of England and France, and D. Fernando, King of Portugal and the Algarve, and Queen D. Leonor, his wife and their successors in the said Kingdoms of England and Portugal, their lands, dominions, provinces, vassals and any subjects who may be obedient to them, there shall henceforth be a true, faithful, constant, mutual and perpetual peace and friendship, union and alliance, and league of sincere affection, and as faithful and true friends they shall be mutually to their friend and enemies to their enemies, mutually maintaining and sustaining themselves by land and sea against all and any men of whatever dignity, state, pre-eminence or condition they may be, their lands, kingdoms and dominions. In like manner they shall seek with all their strength to maintain the preservation, security, comfort and personal honour of their allies, and the indemnity, salvation and recovery of their rights, goods, estates and friends wherever they may exist. And to the damages, injuries, dishonours or (so to say) villainies which they know, or any of the parties know that they are about to happen to the other party some time, or that they are prepared against it, they will faithfully assist with ready remedies to the party against whom they are schemed, and as soon as possible by letters, or envoys, or by any other best-excited means, they will make it known to them fully and completely, assisting them in advance and providing profitably for the object.


Item. Neither party shall bind friendship with the enemies, emulators, and persecutors of the other party, by communicating with them to the detriment, injury, or prejudice of the other party, knowing that it is so, or by giving them counsel, aid, or favour per se or per others, assisting them in any way, by receiving them into the kingdom, or into their kingdoms, lands, dominions, provinces or places, or by maliciously consenting to their being helped, received and supported, or by dwelling therein publicly or secretly under whatever pretended pretexts, occasions, or colours they may be given. The fugitives, exiled and banished present and future for any reason or cause, not comprehended under the denomination of enemies, foes or troublemakers, who have left the kingdom or the provinces, dominions or places of any of the same kings, may henceforth be received, supported and favoured in the kingdom and in any lands and places subject to the dominion of the other king; except if such fugitives, exiled and banished be condemned by sentence for crime against the majesty as traitors to the king and kingdom, or be so suspected, as to threaten verily and to promote injury, dishonour, insult, or discord of one or other part, and therefore should be avoided as enemies and persecutors, and in this case one of the parties, being required by the other, shall remit such criminals to the other party, who requests them, as is said, or shall be obliged to expel and banish them from themselves and from their kingdoms, dominions, and lands.


Item. If it happen that the kingdom, land, dominions, and places of one of the parties be offended, oppressed, or invaded by land or sea, by their enemies, persecutors, or foes, or that the same enemies undertake, scheme, or prepare in any manner to offend, oppress, or invade them and the other party, or his successors in title, is required in writing, or by envoys, by him against whom these things are devised, to assist him, and to give him grants of persons, arms, ships, or any other kind of defence, that are or may be used in the kingdom, from whom such grants are required, the said party so petitioned shall be obliged to provide immediately and to send in good faith the said subsidies to the party which requests them, as often as they are necessary for the defence of the kingdom against which such invasions are prepared, and for that of the provinces, dominions and places of the same, and their recovery, if they have already been lost by the said invasions; against the said enemies, invaders, persecutors, or schemers of such invasion, or persecution, pre-eminence and dignity, that they may be, according to the number and quantity that they can spare and support without serious prejudice (always saving the ordered charity or the necessity itself); and all the expenses and wages shall be paid by the party that requests the subsidies, being those arbitrated minutely by four experienced military officers, or by idoneous, legal and discreet persons, according to the quality and graduation of the people that will be sent, and the circumstances of the time and the places in which they will have to exercise their value and warlike service; These allowances must be prepared and sent after the aforementioned requisition according to the haste and necessity with which they are requested, and according to the possibility of the party requisitioned, excluding in all cases fraud and malicious intent, and this time being regulated by the rules of equity.


Item. To effectually execute and faithfully keep all and each of the aforesaid things in the name of the said kings, we the said procurators promise in good faith and swear on the soul of the said Our King of England, touching the evangelical sacraments, that the same shall keep this alliance, friendship, union, confederation and convention, and its articles and clauses (save the previous contrary treaties), in everything and with all his strength and senses, fulfilling and observing it inviolably and causing it to be kept, fulfil and observe it in the same manner, not contravening it in the future at any time, nor consenting to its being contravened in any manner in whole or in part, without breaking, infringing, or violating it, nor consenting to its being broken, infringed, or violated under any pretext, excuse, exception, malice or deceit, mistake, violence, written or customary right, fact, intention, privilege enforced, or to be enforced, or any other causes devised by fraud, malice, ill-will, or verbally.

This is followed by the Power of Attorney of King Edward, dated on June 1, 1373, and continues: 

In faith and testimony of all the foregoing we have had this present deed of ours drawn up and published by the undersigned master John de Branketre, notary public and royal clerk, and have sealed it with our hanging seals. 

Made and signed in the royal city of London, in the cathedral church of the same, on the feast of the new solemnity of the Body of God on the 16th day of June, 1373, the third year of the pontificate of Pope Gregory XI: present the most illustrious men John Knyvet, Chancellor of England; Nicholas Carreu, keeper of the King’s private seal; John Goterri, dean of the church of Segovia; Thomas Orgrave, archdeacon of Cornwall, in the church of the city of Excester; Rogero Holme, Waltero de Aldebyry and Wilhermo de Dygton, canons of the said church of London; Nicholas of Tamviorth, Matthew Redmane, military officers; Simon de Multon, master doctor of laws, and Peter Diogo, military of the Order of Sant’lago in Portugal, all the aforementioned witnesses.

And I John Branketre, clergyman of the Norvian diocese, by apostolic and imperial authority, notary public and scribe of the same Lord Our King, together with the witnesses above named was present to this treaty of covenant, oaths and seals, and more solemnities made and more practised by the procurators above named, in the year, indication, pontificate, month and place above stated…, and I have published and authenticated it in faith and testimony of truth.”

Note: This translation was made from the Portuguese version published in Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros, A Aliança Inglesa, Subsídios para o seu estudo, compilados e anotados por José de Almada, Vol I, Imprensa Nacional de Lisboa, 1946.

Downing Street Joint-Declaration 13 June 2022


On 13 June 2022, at Downing Street, the Primes Ministers of Portugal and United Kingdom signed a new agreement between both nations. The Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of Tagilde, signed on 10 July 1372, is mentioned  in the introduction  and was in exhbition thus uniting the past, present and the future of the Alliance. You can read the contents of the joint declaration in UK-Portugal_Joint_Declaration




The 600 Years of the Alliance

Ratification of the Treaty of Windsor by King John I of Portugal. © Crown copyright. Licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. (


In this section, we highlight some of the activities to mark the 600 years of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, which were celebrated, both in Portugal and in the United Kingdom.

From 5 to 8 June 1973, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip visited Portugal. By courtesy of the RTP Archives, we share a series of short reports on different activities that took place during the visit:

06.06. 1973. Lisbon. Banquet at the Ajuda National Palace and visit to the exhibition at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the School-Ship Sagres and the Ribatejo.

07.06.1973. Prince Philip and his entourage look at a tile panel illustrating the marriage of King John I and Queen Philippa of Lancaster marking the 600th anniversary of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, and meet with various persons present in the garden of the residence of the British Ambassador to Portugal, where the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II was being celebrated.

07.06.1973. Prince Philip visits Lisnave Shipyard and the Manoel de Mello Training Centre

07.06.1973. Sintra. Luncheon in honour of Prince Philip at the Palácio da Vila

07.06.1973. Seixal. Prince Philip visits the facilities of a communications equipment factory in Santa Marta de Corroios.

08.06.1973. Correio-Mor Palace in Loures. Equestrian show in honour of Prince Philip organised by the Portuguese Equestrian Federation

08.06.1973. Belém Palace. Admiral Américo Tomás, President of the Portuguese Republic, received the representative of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, who offered him a commemorative medal.

Other commemorative activities of the VI centenary of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance:

1973: British Institute, Exhibition “British Contributions to the Historiography of Portugal”.

Inauguration on 24.05.1973. Arrival of José Veiga Simão and visit to the exhibition, in the company of David Francis Muirhead, British Ambassador to Portugal

23.05.1973. Lisbon, National Archive of Torre do Tombo. Rui Patrício, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and José Veiga Simão, Minister of National Education, inaugurating the exhibition commemorating the VI Centennial of the signature of the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of Alliance

23.05.1973: Lisboa, Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, Rui Patrício, Ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros e José Veiga Simão, Ministro da Educação Nacional, inauguram exposição documental comemorativa do 6º Centenário da assinatura do tratado de aliança Luso-Britânico

29.05.1973. In Lisbon, former ministers and members of the British Parliament visit the city in an initiative by the House of Portugal in London, with the support of the Secretary of State for Information and Tourism and the Portuguese Old Cars Club, within the framework of the commemorations of the VI centenary of the signature of the Treaty of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance.

03.12. 1973: British Community in Portugal organises dinner as part of the commemorations of the VI centenary of the Anglo-Portguese Alliance

6.06.1973 to 16.06.1973: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon

Exhibition of the work of English painter William Turner (1775-1851), displayed for the first time in Portugal as part of the celebrations marking the 600th anniversary of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance.

A partnership between the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the British Council and the British Museum

United Kingdom:

11.06.1973 – 22.07. 1973. British Museum, London. Historical exhibition commemorating the signing of the treaty of alliance on 16 June 1373: 600 years of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance

22.06.1973. Plans of horses boarding at Santa Apolónia station for exhibition in Stanley, UK, in the commemorations of the 600 years of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance.

16.07.1973 – 18.07.1973. Marcelo Caetano’s visit to London 1973

600th anniversary of the Treaty of Windsor:

In 1985, visit of Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh to Portugal.

In 1986, His Excellency The President of the Republic of Portugal and the Prime Minister and other Portuguese authorities visited London. The Program included:

-12th May 1986 Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Treaty of Windsor.


St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. With the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, President of the Republic of Portugal, HRH Princess Anne and other authorities from both countries.

One lesson was read by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Portugal and the other by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

-Luncheon at Windsor Castle given by Her Majesty The Queen, 12th May

News published in The Times, 13 May 1986 by Nicholas Ashford:

“The Queen and President Soares of Portugal attended a thanksgiving service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, yesterday to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the Anglo-Portuguese alliance.
At a moving ceremony that drew on the traditions of both lands, the good and the great paid tribute to the wisdom and foresight of King Richard II and King Joao I, who had signed the Treaty of Windsor six centuries earlier.
Although relations between the two countries have had their ups and downs since then, particularly in the I9th century scramble to establish empires in Africa, the alliance has proved itself to be a durable and beneficial bond.
As the Duke of Wellington observed at a reception after the service: ’Although rivals, Britain and Portugal were never enemies and never exchanged a shot between them.’
The service included musical arrangements by a former Portuguese monarch, Joao IV, and the ‘king’ of modern English composers, Sir Benjamin Britten.
One lesson was read in Portuguese by Senhor Anibal Cavaco Silva, the Prime Minister, and the other in English by Sir Geoffrey Howe, the Foreign Secretary.

-Reception at the Portuguese Embassy, 6.30pm given by The President of the Republic of Portugal, 12th May

-Treaty of Windsor Ball, 2nd June 1986, Osterley Park with the presence of TRH The Prince and Princess of Wales. Ball included a performance by the Portuguese Equestrian School accompanied by the Royal Regiment of Wales.

-In 1987 the Princes of Wales visited Portugal, to mark the 600 anniversary of the marriage of King John I of Portugal with Philippa of Lancaster.

In 1987 the Princes of Wales visited Portugal, to mark the 600 anniversary of the marriage of King John I of Portugal with Philippa of Lancaster.




600 years of the Alliance


Minute 2:00 Speech by His Excellency the President of the Republic Américo Tomás
Minute 7:52 Speech by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip


World War II

The Azores during WWII



Winston Churchill, Speech to the House of Commons, invoking the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1373, 12th October 1943

‘“I have an announcement to make to the House arising out of the Treaty signed between this country and Portugal in the year 1373 between His Majesty King Edward III and King Ferdinand and Queen Eleanor of Portugal. This Treaty was reinforced in various forms by Treaties of 1386, 1643, 1654, 166o, 1661, 1703 and 1815 and in a secret declaration of 1899. In more modern times, the validity of the old Treaties was recognised in the Treaties of Arbitration concluded with Portugal in 1904 and 1914. Article I of the Treaty of 1373 runs as follows:” 

‘In the first place we settle and covenant that there shall be from this day forward … true, faithful, constant, mutual and perpetual friendships, unions, alliances and needs of sincere affection and that as true and faithful friends we shall henceforth, reciprocally, be friends to friends and enemies to enemies, and shall assist, maintain and uphold each other mutually, by sea and by land, against all men that may live or die.’


This engagement has lasted now for over 600 years and is without parallel in world history. I have now to announce its latest application. At the outset of the war the Portuguese Government, in full agreement with His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, adopted a policy of neutrality with a view to preventing the war spreading into the Iberian Peninsula. The Portuguese Government has repeatedly stated, most recently in Dr. Salazar’s speech of 27th April, that the above policy is in no way inconsistent with the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance which was reaffirmed by the Portuguese Government in the early days of the war.

His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, basing themselves upon this ancient Alliance, have now requested the Portuguese Government to accord them certain facilities in the Azores which will enable better protection to be provided for merchant shipping in the Atlantic. The Portuguese Government have agreed to grant this request, and arrangements, which enter into force immediately, have been concluded between the two Governments regarding (1) the conditions governing the use of the above facilities by His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and (2) British assistance in furnishing essential material and supplies to the Portuguese armed forces and the maintenance of the Portuguese national economy. The Agreement concerning the use of facilities in the Azores is of a temporary nature only, and in no way prejudices the maintenance of Portuguese sovereignty over Portuguese territory. All British Forces will be withdrawn from the Azores at the end of hostilities. Nothing in this Agreement affects the continued desire of the Portuguese Government, with which His Majesty’s Government have declared themselves in full sympathy, to continue their policy of neutrality on the European mainland and thus maintain a zone of peace in the Iberian Peninsula.

In the view of His Majesty’s Government, this Agreement should give new life and vigour to the Alliance which has so long existed between the United Kingdom and Portugal to their mutual advantage. It not only confirms and strengthens the political guarantees resulting from the Treaties of Alliance, but also affords a new proof of Anglo-Portuguese friendship and provides an additional guarantee for the development of this friendship in the future. On the conclusion of these negotiations my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, who has, I think, conducted them with the very greatest skill and patience, has exchanged most cordial messages with the Portuguese President of the Council. In his message, my right hon. Friend affirmed his conviction that the facilities now granted by the Portuguese Government would greatly contribute to the effective defence of our shipping and thus prove an important factor in shortening the war. He added that the Agreement would give fresh vitality to the ancient Alliance and enhance the close and friendly relations which have so long subsisted between Portugal and Great Britain. In replying to this message, Dr. Salazar stated that he shared the hope that the facilities granted by Portugal to her Ally would help to bring about greater safety for shipping in the Atlantic and that he trusted that this new proof of Portugal’s loyalty to her traditions would fortify the secular Alliance and serve to draw still closer the bonds of friendship between the two peoples.

I take this opportunity of placing on record the appreciation by His Majesty’s Government, which I have no doubt is shared by Parliament and the British nation, of the attitude of the Portuguese Government, whose loyalty to their British Ally never wavered in the darkest hours of the war.”
In Commons and Lords Hansard, the Official Report of debates in Parliament, ‘Deb 12 October 1943’, vol 392, 716-9.


Oliveira Salazar, Prime Minister of Portugal in response to Churchill, 26th November, 1943

“Salazar said:

…Having considered the matter in all its aspects, the Portuguese Government showed no hesitation in giving the British Government’s request a reply favourable, in principle, and did give this reply without delay. However, the political, military and economic problems arising out of such reply and the corresponding concession of facilities, had quite naturally to be examined and solved.

…The traditional faithfulness of the Portuguese People to their friendships and to the Secular Anglo-Portuguese Alliance has been acknowledged in the House of Commons. It is only fair to concede that, from the outbreak of the war and even during the darkest, and most difficult hours, has Portugal, moved by a sense of honour and self-respect, upheld her loyalty to that alliance in a simple clear way.

… If Brazil, related to us by ties of blood, can reconcile her belligerency with our neutrality without any breach of brotherly friendship, there is no doubt that any change in our position arising from the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, being also to Brazil’s advantage, could not but deserve increased applause from the Brazilian People.

… As for Spain, in spite of her special attitude towards the conflict and of the demands of her own interests the reaction of the Spanish Government was so understanding, spontaneous, clear and true as if they wanted to surpass themselves in loyalty and transcend Spanish traditional chivalry.

…We have tried, through difficult negotiations not always successful, to safeguard the fundamental interest of our domestic and colonial economy, to assure the minimum for the life of the population and above all to trade with both parts without allowing our economy to serve as an instrument in a war to which we are alien. However, we have at all times reserved the largest share and the United Kingdom.

…The Portuguese People understand from instinct how important is to Portuguese sovereignty in the various parts of the world, even in these unsettled times, such effective unmistakable guarantee received from two of the greatest maritime Powers, allied in war and, associated in peace.

Fonte: In The Anglo-Portuguese Secular Alliance, Sotramel, Lisboa, 1956, 22.

Heads of State


Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II


The Queen in her speech of welcome said:

I am most happy, Mr. President, to welcome you and Mme. Craveiro Lopes to London today

My people in the United Kingdom greet you as the Head of the State which has been their friend and ally for over 800 years. We greet you, too, as the representative of a proud people with whom we have, in more recent days, forged new and wider bonds.

The ancient alliance between us is founded on the Treaty, which was signed in this City of London in 1373 and which was confirmed in the Treaty of Windsor of 1386. But our friendship is at least 200 years older than our formal alliance, and began in your country, Mr. President, in a common brotherhood of arms.

Its foundations were laid by those English knights who paused in Lusitânia, on their way in the Holy Land, to help your people free Lisbon from their enemies.

Besides mutual interest, mutual respect and sentiment have been the foundation of our accord. The people of Britain, whose history, like that of your own people, has been moulded by the sea, have always admired the exploits of your sailors and explorers, including the gallant Bartolomeu Dias whose name is borne by the ship which has brought you here today.

The comradeship of the sea is a very real one and it still inspires the traditional cooperation of our merchants and the work of the economic organisations of which we are both members. I hope that our trading partnership, which is as old as our friendship, will long continue to the benefit of our two peoples.

I am delighted that during your visit an exhibition will open in London of the work of Portuguese artists and craftsmen, yet another example of the close and friendly understanding between our countries.

Perhaps the greatest change in these last eight centuries has come from the contraction of the world’s horizons which has made it necessary to organise mankind in the widest possible association of States. The ties between our two countries have in recent years been supplemented by common membership of new organisations of this kind: but these associations like the old, depend upon the confidence and trust of their members, and in this respect the nations have still much to learn from the history of the past.

I think, Mr. President, that our own solid, perpetual and real league provides a striking example of fidelity throughout the years.

Mr. President, I raise my glass to your health and that of Mme. Craveiro Lopes, and to the prosperity and happiness of the people of Portugal.

In The Anglo-Portuguese Secular Alliance, Sotramel, Lisboa, 1956, 11-12.


His Excellency The President of Portugal, General Craveiro Lopes


The President, replying, said:

Madam, my wife and I have been deeply touched by your Majesty’s kind words of welcome, and we feel indeed happy at the truly captivating hospitality you are so graciously extending to us.

I am sure the entire Portuguese people share to the full these sentiments of gratification and of true friendship which have brought us on this visit to our most ancient ally.

It is very true that the ties which, ever since the heroic times of the Crusades and of chivalry, have bound our two countries, provide in the history of the nations, a unique example of good understanding and of constant and fruitful cooperation.

You referred in a most felicitous way, to Portugal’s past as a seafaring nation. I can say that, for our part, we Portuguese also hold in great admiration the maritime role which Britain in turn came to play. It was by covering the Seven Seas that the maritime glory of your country proved of great service to the cause of civilisation through the spreading of those great moral vallues which represent the Western world’s most precious heritage.

The friendship between Portugal and Great Britain has survived the passage of time in all its diversity. In this century, during which Great Britain has twice had to endure suffering surpassed only by her glories, the feelings of the Portuguese people for the British people have never ceased to deepen. Throughout that period our close association has been marked by many memorable events and we are now co-operating in new and important endeavours designed to serve the cause of peace and good understanding among the nations.

With this, there have developed ever closer contacts between us in every field. Our trading partnership is, in fact, as old as our friendship, and in cultural matters as well our relations date from very far back. I, too, earnestly hope that the economic and cultural ties between us will become more and more intense, to the good of our two peoples.

It is certain that only through mutual trust, of the kind that has inspired our own solid, perpetual and real league, are fruitful and lasting results to be expected from the new forms of international cooperation which in our times are being put to the test. May the peoples of the world witness the consolidation of the atmosphere of peace and freedom for which they are yearning.

On your ascending the throne, Madam, the Portuguese people came under the spell of your youthful charm and graciousness. For they were quick to see in you not only the upholder of great traditions rooted in the distant past, but also the herald of a bright promise for the future. I can affirm that Britain’s old friends fully realise all that your youth stands for in the hearts of your peoples.

These, Madam, are my sentiments in raising my glass to your health and that of his Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, and to the prosperity and happiness of the British people.

In The Anglo-Portuguese Secular Alliance, Sotramel, Lisboa, 1956, 17-18.