The president of the unofficial, voluntary and non-profit initiative, Maria João Rodrigues de Araújo, hopes that the program, with more than 300 activities over four years, has served to strengthen ties between the two countries.

"I think we left an important legacy for future generations with young people who participated in these events in the prism of friendship and peace between the two countries", she told Lusa agency.

Araújo stressed that the basis of the initiative was always the promotion of the values set out in the Treaty of the Alliance signed on June 16, 1373 in London, in which the two countries complement each other in a "true, faithful, constant, mutual and perpetual peace and friendship, union and alliance and leagues of sincere affection”.

“I would like them to leave thinking that they want to be ambassadors of these values with the challenge of committing each one to participate and maintain the alliance from generation to generation”, she added.

King Charles III

On Thursday, the British King will join the Portuguese President at a service in London to celebrate the anniversary of the Luso-British Alliance, considered the oldest diplomatic alliance in force.

The alliance dates back to the Treaty of Tagilde, signed on July 10, 1372, reinforced by the Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Alliance in 1373.

Music professor and researcher at the University of Oxford, Maria João Rodrigues de Araújo started working on this idea in 2016, still without a clear plan on the format of the celebrations.

In the following years, she held meetings with the Government and Camões Institute in Portugal, the British Embassy and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, which paved the way for the official sponsorship of the then Prince Charles and President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

The multiple contacts included the British Government, the General Staff of the Portuguese Armed Forces and the Vatican, with Pope Francis blessing the initiative.

The first event took place in 2019, at the time to remember Peace Day, on July 19, 1919, when Portuguese soldiers joined a large parade through the streets of the British capital to celebrate the end of the First World War (1914-18 ).

Since then, Portugal-UK 650 estimates that it has promoted at least 300 activities with more than 200 partners in areas such as academic research, education, culture, economics or the military.

"We tried to involve not only authorities, but civil society, so that more people could learn about the alliance's values", stressed the official to Lusa.

One of the guiding principles was that most of the events were accessible to all, free and decentralised in the country, to “avoid being elitist and not being commercial”.