Maria Barroso

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Maria Barroso
Maria Barroso.2013.JPG
Barroso in 2013
First Lady of Portugal
In role
9 March 1986 – 9 March 1996
President Mário Soares
Preceded by Manuela Ramalho Eanes
Succeeded by Maria José Ritta
Member of the Assembly of the Republic
Elections: 1976, 1979, 1980, 1983[1]
In office
3 June 1976 – 13 November 1980
In office
31 May 1983 – 4 November 1985
Personal details
Born Maria de Jesus Simões Barroso
(1925-05-02)2 May 1925
Fuseta, Olhão, Portugal
Died 7 July 2015(2015-07-07) (aged 90)
São Domingos de Benfica, Lisbon, Portugal
Resting place Prazeres Cemetery, Lisbon
Political party Socialist Party
Spouse(s) Mário Soares (1949–2015)
Children João Barroso Soares
Isabel Barroso Soares
Alma mater University of Lisbon
Occupation Politician
Profession Teacher

Maria de Jesus Simões Barroso Soares, GCL (2 May 1925 – 7 July 2015) was a Portuguese politician and actress,[2][3] wife of President of Portugal Mario Soares and First Lady of Portugal between 1986 and 1996.


Barroso was the daughter of military Alfredo José Barroso from Alvor (Algarve) and Maria da Encarnação Simões, from Fuseta, Olhão.

While at university, she performed in the National Theatre for four years but was later removed as a result of her political positions as member of the Democratic Opposition to the regime of Antonio Salazar. Even though qualified to do so, during the regimes of Salazar and Marcelo Caetano, she was forbidden to teach, even in private schools.

Maria Barroso married her university colleague Mario Soares in 1949 at the 3rd Conservatory of the Civil Register of Lisbon,[4] while he was in the Aljube prison. They had one son, politician João Soares, born 1949, and a daughter, Isabel Barroso Soares, born 1951, who manages the Colégio Moderno in Lisbon.[5]

Although not as politically involved as her husband, Maria Barroso was a founding member of the Socialist Party in Bad Münstereifel, Germany in 1973. She was the President of the Aristides Sousa Mendes Foundation, the Pro Dignitate Association and the head of the Portuguese Red Cross for several years.

Maria Barroso had a degree in Historical and Philosophical Sciences from the Faculty of Arts, Lisbon and the course of Dramatic Arts from the National Conservatory.[5] She was a member of the Portuguese National Theater Company and one of the most famous theater and cinema actresses in Portugal. In April 2000 she read the poetry of Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen at the United Nations in New York in homage to Aristides Sousa Mendes.[6] She was involved in activities aimed at supporting the areas of culture, education and family, childhood, social solidarity, female dimension, health, the integration of the disabled and the prevention of violence.[5]

Illness and death[edit]

In June 2015, she came under medical care at Lisbon’s Red Cross Hospital, following an accident at her home. According to the family, she fell, then was transported to the hospital. Early exams revealed nothing, but her condition worsened and new exams revealed an extensive intracranial hemorrhage. She entered a coma and her nephew, surgeon Eduardo Barroso, classified the situation as "critical" and "most likely irreversible". She died on the morning of 7 July 2015.[7]

Honours and awards[edit]


National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]


  • Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Aveiro
  • Doctorate Honoris Causa by the University of Lisbon
  • Doctor Honoris Causa by Lesley College, Boston
  • Honorary Professor of the Society of International Studies, Madrid
  • Award "Impegno Per La Pace" of the Association Insieme per la Pace, Rome
  • Award "Beca" by the Colégio Mayor Zurbaran, Madrid
  • Gold Medal for Distinct Service from the League of Portuguese Firemen
  • Medal of Solidarity from CNAF
  • Silver Medal of the Alcuin Award
  • Gold Medal from FERLAP
  • Gold Medal from the City of Ovar
  • Gold Medal from the City of Olhão
  • Gold Medal from the City of Faro
  • Personality of the Year 1998 in the area of solidarity by the Magazine Revista Gente e Viagem
  • Algarvia (lady from the Algarve region) of the Year 1997 by the Association of the Algarve’s Regional Press
  • Most Elegant Woman of the Year 1998 – Magazine Revista VIP
  • Neckband of the International Academy of Portuguese Culture
  • “One in ten women of the year 1999” Prize – Brazil
  • D. Antónia Ferreira Prize
  • Prestige Prize
  • “Manus Cais” Trophy
  • “Lonely Life” Prize – Radio Central FM, Leiria


  1. ^ Partuguese National Assembly
  2. ^ Mailer, Phil (1996-01-01). Portugal, the impossible revolution?. Black Rose Books Ltd. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-919618-33-6. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  3. ^ Cowie, Peter; Elley, Derek (1977). World Filmography: 1967. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 474. ISBN 978-0-498-01565-6. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Company, H.W. Wilson (1976). Current biography yearbook. H. W. Wilson Co. p. 393. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c Biography: Maria de Jesus Simões Barroso Soares. Curriculum of Maria Barroso, retrieved 7 July 2015
  6. ^ En hommage à Aristides de Sousa Mendes. Retrieved 7 July 2015
  7. ^ Former First Lady dies. Retrieved 7 July 2015
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "list of Maria's honours".  External link in |website= (help);
  9. ^

External links[edit]