Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen was born to an aristocratic, devoutly Catholic Portugese family of Danish descent. She attended the Universidade de Lisboa and continued to live in Lisbon for the rest of her life. In 1946, she married Francisco Sousa Tavares, a lawyer and politician, with whom she had five children. Their son Miguel Sousa Tavares grew up to become a well-known journalist and author. In the 1970s, she made a brief foray into politics as a Socialist Party member of Parliament. She produced 13 volumes of poetry and is considered one of Portugal’s most important 20th century poets. She became the first woman to win the Prémio Camões, the nation's top poetry prize, and also won numerous other literary awards. She also wrote children's fiction and translated works by Dante and Shakespeare into Portugese.