HRH Grand Duchess Maria Teresa
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa was born in Havana, Cuba, on 22 March 1956, to José Antonio Mestre and Maria Teresa Batista-Falla de Mestre.
In October 1959, at the time of the revolution, Maria Teresa Mestre left Cuba with her parents. The family settled in New York where, as a young girl, she was a pupil at Marymount School. From 1961 she carried on her studies at the Lycée Français.
In June 1965 her parents settled down for a few months on their family estate of Santander in Spain, before taking up permanent residence in Geneva. Maria Teresa Mestre first carried on her studies at the Institut Marie-José at Gstaad, then at the boarding school Marie-Thérèse in Geneva, where she successfully passed the French General Certificate of Education (baccalauréat) in June 1975.
In 1980 she graduated at the University of Geneva in political sciences. Miss Mestre met Prince Henri at this University. For four years they both carried on similar studies, working sometimes in the same study groups to which Miss Mestre reported on numerous occasions; she was for instance the author of a report on the compared legislations within the EEC, on woman's work and on motherhood.
During the same period Maria Teresa Mestre took an ever increasing interest in social and human problems, following the family tradition which had brought her grand-parents to devote themselves actively to philantropical and cultural tasks in Cuba.
Besides her studies, Miss Mestre was in Geneva a member of a group taking care of the residents of old people's homes. She also taught children in a Geneva classroom.
Spanish being her mother tongue, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa knows French thoroughly for having carried on her studies at the French School (Lycée Français) and in Switzerland. In her prime youth she learned English. After her marriage she learned Luxembourgish and she speaks also German and Italian.
In her childhood, Maria Teresa Mestre took ballet and singing tuition courses. She loves music and literature and is interested in painting. Devoted to sport, she practices skiing, ice-skating and water sports. She has two brothers and one sister, who are living in Switzerland and in the USA.
Miss Maria Teresa Mestre married Prince Henri of Luxembourg
on February 14th, 1981.
They have 5 children, 4 sons and one daughter:
- Prince Guillaume, born on November 11th, 1981
- Prince Félix, born on June 3rd, 1984
- Prince Louis, born on august 3rd, 1986
- Princess Alexandra, born on February 16th, 1991
- Prince Sébastien, born on April 16th, 1992
Since 1997, the Grand Duchess acts as a Good-Will Ambassador of UNESCO and supports in this respect specifically organisations which are active in the field of micro-credits and child protection.
The Grand Duchess is showing a strong interest in the social situation in her country, dedicating her efforts mainly to the children and families in danger, to the social integration of persons who are physically, mentally or socially handicapped and to gender related issues.
She has granted her patronage and active support notably to the Luxembourg League of Blind People, the National Nurses' Association and the Alzheimer Association of Luxembourg. She is furthermore chairing the Foundation Prince Henri-Princess Maria Teresa for the handicapped and occupying the Honorary Chair of the Foundation for Research on Aids.
She is member of the Council of Trustees of the Mentor Foundation (London) which is concentrating on the prevention of substance abuse among children and young people and which is maintaining a special relationship with World Health Organisation.
In October 1999, HRH Crown Princess Maria Teresa is named Docteur Honoris Causa to the Seton Hall University, School for diplomatics and international relations in the USA.