The Queen visits the Hospício da Princesa Dona Maria Amélia

On Tuesday 2 May, The Queen visited Madeira to open a new ward for the elderly at the Hospício da Princesa Dona Maria Amélia.

The Queen was in Funchal on Madeira to open a new ward for the elderly at the Hospício da Princesa Dona Maria Amélia.

The Queen opens the new ward, alongside Father José Alves and Miguel Albuquerque, President of the Regional Government of Madeira. Photo: Miguel Moniz

During the opening ceremony, The Queen gave a speech in which she said:

"Giving the elderly the best possible care is a matter that is very close to my heart. The desire to look after those who once looked after us is a universal driving force that unites us all, no matter where we live and work. And I am convinced that we have much to gain by learning from each other. [ … ]

"As you know, the Swedish Royal Family has a very special, long-standing relationship with this hospice.

"Back in 1853, Empress Amélia founded a hospital here on Madeira to treat those with lung diseases. When she died, she bequeathed the hospital to her sister, Queen Josefina of Sweden. She was married to my husband's great-great-great-grandfather, King Oscar I.

"In 1877, Queen Josephine turned the hospice into a foundation, and later that same year the Order of St Vincent in Paris undertook to run the hospice under the foundation's supervision. Today, almost a century and a half later, this tradition is continued by skilled nursing sisters.

"It is with great pride and delight that both The King and I continue to support the hospice's work. This is the third time I have visited the hospice. The King and Crown Princess Victoria have also been here on several occasions."

The Queen also had the opportunity to visit the children at the school. The former pulmonary hospital now includes a preschool, a school and a home for the elderly. Photo: Miguel Moniz

Empress Amélia of Brazil founded a hospital on Madeira to treat those with lung diseases in 1853, the same year that her daughter Maria Amélia died having been weakened for a long time by pulmonary tuberculosis. The empress handed over the hospital – the Hospício da Princesa Dona Maria Amélia – to Queen Josefina of Swedenopens in new window, and according to the terms of her will it is owned and administered by the Swedish Royal Family.

Queen Josefina undertook to formalise the foundation, and its assets are administered by the Treasurer of the Court.

The Queen in the Jardim do Hospício Princesa D. Maria Amélia, a public garden next to the home and school. Photo: Miguel Moniz