On Thursday 15 June 2023, the Choir of the Queen’s College, Oxford, were delighted to sing at a service attended by King Charles III and the President of Portugal celebrating UK-Portugal 650. The service was sung in The Queen’s Chapel at St James’ Palace, alongside the Choir of the Chapel Royal. It was a truly wonderful occasion, with the choir singing both English and Portuguese music, including both national anthems.

Celebrating the oldest surviving diplomatic alliance between two nations, Portugal-UK 650 are the commemorations of the 650th anniversary of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance. To date, Portugal-UK 650 has organized more than 300 activities and projects in partnership with 210 institutions. The beginning of the formalisation of the Alliance, based on the perpetual friendship between the two countries, occurred with the signing of the Treaty of Tagilde on the 10th of July 1372.

To be able to sing in the presence of His Majesty and the President of Portugal was an honour, and I know we’ve all made memories that will make good conversation starters for years to come! It was particularly special to be able to perform Salve Regina by the renaissance Portuguese composer Melgás.

Matthew Rogers, Choral Scholar

In the evening, part of the choir were invited to perform for the opening of Joana Vasconcelos’ extraordinary new structure and immersive art installation ‘Wedding Cake’ in the stunning grounds of Waddesdon Manor.

We are very grateful for the team at UK-Portugal 650 for inviting us to lead the musical aspects of this important international and cultural relationship.

Photography: Mark Nicholson