Friday, March 22, 2013

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. At the age of 5, she began to study at the Lycée Français de New York. At 9 years old, she and her family moved to Santander, Spain and then to 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 she 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, she 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 Gramd Duchess has recieved numerous awards for her humanitarian efforts. In 1999, she was given an honorary doctoral degree from Seton Hall University (USA) {Source}. In 2003, she was given an honorary doctorate from the University of Leon (Nicaragua){Source}. In 2006, she was awarded with the UN's Path to Peace Award{Source}. In 2008, she was made a Dame Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Order of Malata {Source}

While at UoG, she met her future husband  the Hereditary Grand Duke Henri{Source}. On Valentine's Day 1981, they were married. Together, they have 5 children, two (almost three) daughters-in-law, and two grandchildren. They are:
  • Prince Guillaume, Herditary Grand Duke (1981), and who is married to Princess Stephanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess.
  • Prince Felix (1984), who is getting married to Claire Margareta Lademacher sometime in 2013
  • Prince Louis (1986), who married Tessy Antony in 2006 and had two sons, Prince Noah & Prince Gabriel
  • Princess Alexandra (1991)
  • Prince Sébastien (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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