The daughter of José Antonio Mestre and Maria Teresa Batista-Falla de Mestre, the future Grand Duchess Maria Teresa was born on 22 March 1956 in Havana, Cuba.
In October 1959, at the time of the revolution, she left Cuba with her parents. The family established its permanent residence in Geneva. She completed her studies at the University of Geneva, which awarded her a degree in political science in 1980. During her university studies, Maria Teresa met her future husband, Prince Henri of Luxembourg. They were married on 14 February 1981. Their Royal Highnesses have four sons and one daughter.
Since 10 June 1997, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa has been a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and is committed to the education of women and girls throughout the world as well as to the promotion of microcredits. She presides over numerous humanitarian foundations active in these fields. She strongly supports all actions that empower women and defend their rights.
On 7 October 2000, her husband, the Hereditary Grand Duke, acceded to the throne. The Grand Duchess is particularly committed to the cause of children and as such supports programmes to help street children and AIDS orphans, the fight against child prostitution and against paedophilia on the Internet.
The Grand Duchess is Honorary President of the Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa Foundation. This foundation aims to help people in need in Luxembourg, people suffering from a physical, psychological or mental handicap, and children with learning difficulties. It also supports development aid projects. The Grand Duchess is also President of the Luxembourg Red Cross, President of the Luxembourg Cancer Foundation and Honorary President of the AIDS Research Foundation. The Ligue luxembourgeoise de prévention et d'action médico-sociales is placed under her high patronage. She is a patron of SOS Children's Villages Monde, an honorary member of the International Paralympic Committee Honorary Board and an active member of the Mentor Foundation, which was created under the patronage of the World Health Organisation and whose aim is to prevent drug use by young people.
On 13 June 2006, she received the Path to Peace Award 2006 in New York. Previously awarded to personalities such as Lech Walesa, Kofi Annan or King Baudouin, this prize is awarded each year to a public figure who has distinguished himself/herself by his/her humanitarian and social commitment. As of 1 January 2007, the Grand Duchess is the High Patron of UNICEF Luxembourg. In April 2007, she was appointed "Eminent Advocate for Children" by UNICEF in Geneva. In February 2008, Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa received the insignia of Dame of the Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Order of Malta in Rome.
Particularly sensitive to the distress, isolation and stigmatisation of women and young girls who are victims of sexual violence in sensitive areas, Her Royal Highness has been involved in this issue since 2014. It was also in 2016 that the Grand Duchess met Dr Denis Mukwege (winner of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize). Deeply moved by his work, she took the initiative to organise with him and Céline Bardet, founder and executive director of the association We are not Weapons of War, the international Forum Stand Speak Rise Up! in Luxembourg, in March 2019, to end sexual violence in sensitive areas.