Queen Elizabeth II visits the TV Tower, a well-known monument in Brasília (Federal District Public Archives)
On November 1st 1968, Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Recife, where she began the first visit of a British monarch to Brazil and to South America. Accompanied by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburg, the Queen would then proceed to Salvador, Brasília, São Paulo, Campinas and Rio de Janeiro.
The Queen’s visit was a milestone for Brazil-UK relations. In Recife, the Queen met with the famous sociologist Gilberto Freyre, author of the acclaimed “The Masters and the Slaves”, and with Dom Hélder Câmara, a prominent catholic leader and civil rights advocate. In Salvador, in the Mercado Modelo, a traditional popular market, the Queen listened to iconic musician Ápio Patrocínio da Conceição play a Samba in her tribute. In Brasília, where the visit became a State visit, the Queen participated in a session of the Supreme Court; addressed deputies and senators in the National Congress; and was honoured with a banquet in the Itamaraty Palace, headquarters of the Brazilian Foreign Service. In São Paulo, the royal couple inaugurated the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP). In Campinas, at the Agricultural Research Institute, local researchers introduced the Queen and the Duke of Edinburg to studies in agricultural productivity. In Rio, the final chapter of the Brazilian tour, the Queen participated in the symbolic inauguration of the Rio-Niterói Bridge, and, in the Maracanã stadium, watched a football match between the all-stars of Rio de Janeiro against the all-stars of São Paulo – in a 3-2 win for São Paulo. The Queen handed Pelé the victory trophy.
An event of undeniable political significance, the Queen’s visit was also an occasion of true popular festivity that was extensively recorded by the press: in each of the cities visited, the Queen and the Duque of Edinburg were effusively greeted by the Brazilian people, who poured the streets in great numbers. As the royal couple left Rio de Janeiro, on November 11th, they said they would never forget the “warm reception given by the people of Brazil”.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Queen’s visit to Brazil, we value the partnership between Brazil and the UK. A partnership that covers a wide range of areas – from trade and investment to academic exchange and cooperation in science and technology – and that is geared towards the prosperity of the Brazilian and British people, as well as the progress of both countries.