Grand Duchess Maria Teresa
Maria Teresa Mestre y Batista-Falla was born in Marianao, Havana, Cuba, to José Antonio Mestre and María Teresa Batista-Falla de Mestre. Her parents descent from Cuban bourgeoisie, with ancesters among the first Spanish settlers in Cuba.
In 1959, the Mestre family fled Cuba for fear of the revolution. They moved to New York City, USA, where Maria Teresa attended Marymount School and L’Ecole française. The family lived briefly in Santander, Spain, before finally settling in Geneva, Switzerland in 1965. There Maria Teresa attended the Institut Marie-José in Gstaad and the boarding school Marie-Thérèse in Geneva, where she obtained her French baccalauréat in 1975. After her Baccalauréat, Maria Teresa started studying Political Sciences at the University of Geneva, where she met then Hereditary Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg. She graduated in 1980.
Maria Teresa Mestre married Hereditary Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg on 14 February 1981. Their marriage was fiercely opposed at first, as Maria Teresa is not of noble descent. The couple has five children: Guillaume (b. 1981), Félix (b.1984), Louis (b. 1986), Alexandra (b. 1991) and Sébastien (b. 1992).
Upon the abdication of Grand Duke Jean in 2000, Maria Teresa became Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa has always been involved in humanitarian causes. She is Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO since 1997, and an avid promotor of microcredits. She is also president of the Luxembourg Red Cross.