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H.S.H. Prince Albert II in Lisbon and Madeira

H.S.H. Prince Albert II visited Portugal from 5 to 7 September 2017 during a trip that had diplomatic, historical and scientific merits.

On 5 September, the Sovereign Prince met the President of Portugal Marcelo Nuno Duarte Rebelo de Sousa at the Belém Palace. Together, they discussed relations between the two countries, environmental issues and particularly the subject of marine protected areas.

During the day, H.S.H. the Prince travelled to Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira to the first port of call in the M/V Yersin vessel's Monaco Explorations campaign in Macaronesia.
There were echoes of history surrounding this first scientific activity, as H.S.H. was following in the footsteps of his great-great-grandfather, Albert I.

Over the course of his stay in Madeira, the Sovereign Prince inaugurated the Albert I square in Funchal as a crowd made up of Madeira authorities, a delegation from Monaco and local citizens watched on.
H.S.H. Albert II then attended the opening of the "Prince and Explorer: Albert I’s Travels in Madeira" exhibition, on display at Funchal's Natural History Museum until 7 January 2018.
Brought to the public by the Prince's Palace of Monaco Archives in partnership with the Oceanographic Museum, Monaco's Audio-visual Archives and the Funchal Natural History Museum, the exhibition is structured like a travel journal that traces Prince Albert I's itinerary across Madeira from 1879 to 1912 via his letters, his personal diary and a collection of photographs from the period, as well as scientific instruments and paintings by Louis Tinayre.
On his many trips to the island, Prince Albert I made a number of scientific observations and carried out tests on oceanographic materials. Six of his oceanographic campaigns took place off Madeira's shores.
It was also here in Madeira that Prince Albert I of Monaco, then heir to the throne, met the Duchess of Richelieu for the first time in 1879, who would later be granted the title of Princess Alice when the couple married in 1889.

During his trip to Madeira, Prince Albert II visited the Our Lady of Monte church, home to the statue of the Virgin of Monte, the patron saint of Madeira. The church also houses the tomb of Emperor Charles I of Austria (1887-1922), who was formally beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004.

H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince ended his tour of Monte by travelling back to Funchal aboard one of the famous Carros de Cesto.
In Madeira, H.S.H. the Prince spent time aboard the M/V Yersin with the crew and scientists from the Monaco Explorations campaign.
In a session organised by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, on 6 September he took part in a specialist workshop featuring a presentation on monk seals, now the world's most endangered species of seal.
The Monaco Explorations campaign is contributing to the protection programme run by the local authorities by supplying the project with the expertise of Instituto das Florestas Conservaçao e Natureza, the Yersin teams and specialist divers to complete work on mapping the monk seal's habitat on the northern shores of Madeira. Since 20 August, ten researchers from three different organisations have contributed to building up an inventory of biodiversity in the archipelago's waters, which has until now been little-known.

On 7 September, the day was given over to discovering the Desertas islands, a deserted archipelago off the Madeira coast, and included exploring two caves and observing monk seals, cetaceans and seabirds. Prince Albert I had explored the Desertas islands many times during his trips to Madeira.


H.S.H. Prince Albert II in Lisbon and Madeira