The Portuguese have published something of a love letter to the British, playing down the “uncertainty” which Brexit may bring and assuring them they will always be “#Brelcome” in Portugal.
The video by Visit Portugal, which promotes tourism in the Iberian country for the Portuguese government, begins “Dear Britons, Life is about uncertainty. No-one knows what tomorrow brings until tomorrow rises. That’s just the way it is.
“But what we do know is that whatever happens in the future, nothing will break us apart. We are part of each other’s history.”
Portugal and England — and subsequently the United Kingdom, after the Act of Union in 1707 — enjoy probably the longest-standing alliance in the world, dating back to at least 1386 and the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of Windsor between King John I of Portugal and King Richard II of England.
It is arguable that this treaty merely formalised a friendship dating back hundreds of years before even that, however, to the Siege of Lisbon in 1147, when English crusaders helped to liberate what is now the Portuguese capital from the Muslim Moors.
📺 | Lovely video from @visitportugal to British tourists: "Life is about uncertainty. No one knows what tomorrow brings… Brexit may be the word of the day but from us you will always be hearing #Brelcome". 🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/dc7uIbr794
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) August 4, 2019
“Together, we shaped the course of the world,” the Portuguese video reminds viewers.
“Let’s not forget, we have the oldest prevailing alliance that any country has ever known… Brexit may be the word of the day, but from us you will always be hearing #Brelcome,” it concludes.
“Portugal will never leave you.”
It is true that the Anglo-Portuguese alliance has not merely been confined to the pages of ancient documents over the hundreds of years of its existence, with British forces helping to protect and liberate the country from French and Spanish invaders during the Seven Years’ War and the Napoleonic Wars, and the Portuguese fighting alongside the British in the trenches during the First World War.
While Portugal was officially neutral during the Second World War, this was at the express request of the British, as General Franco’s Spain “would inevitably have thrown herself body and soul into the arms of Germany” if their Portuguese neighbours had joined the Allies, which would have been strategically unhelpful.
The Portuguese offered British ships the use of their ports, however, and later allowed the Allies to use the Azores in the mid-Atlantic as a base, with Churchill praising the British-Portuguese alliance as “without parallel in world history” in 1943.
— Kate Hoey (@KateHoeyMP) August 3, 2019