The presence of so many ladies had a symbolic significance. Two great ladies of the past played a dominant part in the Anglo-Portuguese friendship: Phillippa of Lancaster, Queen of Portugal;  Catherine of Braganza, Queen of England.   The former appeared at the birth of the alliance between the two countries;  the latter on its renewal during his country’s long struggle for independence in the seventeenth century.

England and Portugal had travelled through life bound by ties of brotherly friendship for many centuries.   British and Portuguese soldiers had mingled their blood on the fields of battle, falling in the same cause, not once through some chance diplomatic arrangement, but times without number down the ages.   Their kings began to talk of alliance as early as 1373, and since then – for almost 600 years – that word has never ceased to symbolize their relations.  The very fact of such lengthy persistence would seem to show that in the close connexion there was a kind of hidden destiny of the two peoples.   For centuries the alliance had derived its political strength from the sea and from the position of the coasts.   To-day the development of aviation had enhanced that value. New and immense risks had to be faced.  Its power and importance had been doubled. More than ever did the Portuguese and British territories complete one another.