Thursday, March 22, 2012

Royal Profile: HRH Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg

María Teresa Mestre y Batista-Falla (aka HRH Grand Duchess María Teresa of Luxembourg) was born 22 March 1956, the daughter of José Antonio Mestre y Alvarez and María Teresa Batista y Falla de Mestre in Mariano, Havanna, Cuba.

During Cuba's revolution in the late 1950s, Maria and her parents left Cuba for the United States. While growing up in New York, NY, she studied at the Marymount School and took ballet, voice, skiing, water sports and ice-skating. When she was 5 years old she began to study at the Lycée Français de New York. When she was 9 years old, she and her family moved to Santander, Spain before taking a permanet residence in Geneva Switzerland. During the family's stay in Switzerland, she attended Institut Marie-José in Gstaad, Switzerland, where she successfully passed the French Baccalaureate in June 1975. She then attended University of Geneva, where in 1980 awarded him the degree in Political Science. While at University, she was part of a group taking care of visiting elderly in nursing homes. She has also taught catechism in a classroom of children in Geneva. His social commitment becomes a passion, continues and is growing again, after installation in the Grand Duchy.

During her youth, she kept with her family's tradition of being interested in social and humanitarian problems and having civic involvement. On 10 June 1997, Great Crown Princess becomes Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO for the fight against poverty, to promote microcredit and education of girls. In the field of microfinance and more recently through the concept of Social Business, she worked for many years closely with Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace prize in 2006, and in collaboration with key players in Luxembourg. In April 2007, the Grand Duchess is named "Eminent Advocate for Children", UNICEF, focusing its first Action for AIDS orphans and child soldiers.

Many sponsorships and commitments in socio-cultural and charitable organizations such as Luxembourg the Luxembourg Red Cross with the Grand Duchess took the Chair and the Cancer Foundation of which she assumes the Presidency of honor.

The highest awards that the Grand Duchess has received for his humanitarian efforts are witnesses of this extraordinary commitment: in October 1999, His Royal Highness the Grand Duchess was heiress named Honorary Doctorate from Seton Hall University (New Jersey, United States). In February 2003, the Grand Duchess receives the title of Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Leon (Nicaragua) and June 13, 2006, representing the Holy See to the United Nations awarded him the "Path to Peace Award" a prize awarded annually to a person distinguished by his humanitarian and social. On Thursday, March 7, 2008, at the Palais lecture of the Order of Malta in Rome, the Grand Duchess is presented with the insignia of Dame Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion.

While at UoG, she met her future husbamd, the Hereditary Grand Duke Henri. On Valentine's Day 1981, they were married. Shortly after their wedding, Prince Guillaume was born on 11 November 1981. He was followed by Prince Felix on 3 June 1984, Prince Louis on 3 August 1986, Princess Alexandra on 16 February 1991, and Prince Sébastien on 16 April 1992.

After 19 years and 9 months as the Hereditary Grand Duchess, she became the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg on 7 October 2000, after the abdication of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg.

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