Their Majesties King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain attended the Princess of Asturias Awards yesterday in Oviedo, Spain, at the Campoamor Theatre. They were accompanied by Felipe’s mother, Queen Sofía, and upon their arrival, they were received by the Mayor of Oviedo, Wenceslao López and the President of the Princess of Asturias Foundation, Matías Rodríguez Inciarte.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia sat at the presidential table while Queen Sofía was seated in the royal box.
His Majesty presented this year’s awards to Rainer Weiss, Kip S. Thorne, Barry C. Barish and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (Princess of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research); Adam Zagajewski, a Polish poet (Princess of Asturias Award for Literature); Hispanic Society of America (Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation); Les Luthiers (Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities); Karen Armstrong (Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences); the New Zealand men’s rugby team (Princess of Asturias Sports Prize); European Union (Princess of Asturias Award for Concord); and South African William Kentridge (Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts).
King Felipe also delivered some remarks during the ceremony where he touched on the ongoing situation in Catalonia. His Majesty remarked, “Catalonia is and remains an important part of Spain.” He added, “Spain is getting an unacceptable attack on its national territory, but it will be able to resist it democratically.”
The King spoke about each award and the winners, separately touching on the hardships and successes each of them has faced.
He also expressed his solidarity with the victims of the fires last week in Portugal and Spain saying, “We share the deep sorrow of the families of the victims.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Felipe, Letizia and Sofía travelled to Hotel de la Reconquista to attend a reception.
The King and Queen also attended the Princess of Asturias XXVI Concert organised by the Princess of Asturias Foundation and Cajastur Liberbank on Thursday evening ahead of the awards the following day. The Choir of the Princesa de Asturias Foundation, together with the Symphony Orchestra of the Principality of Asturias, performed “Ivan the Terrible”, Op.116 by Sergei Prokófiev.
Afterward, they attended a dinner in their honour hosted by the President of the Princess of Asturias Foundation and attended by the members of the Board of Trustees and the winners of the 2017 Princess of Asturias Awards.
There had been some discussion that Leonor, Princess of Asturias might accompany her parents this year to the awards, but it ended up not being the case for the soon to be 12-year-old. Her father, when he was the Prince of Asturias, first attended the awards at age 13.
The Princess of Asturias Foundation, founded in 1980 as the Prince of Asturias Foundation, is a non-profit organisation “whose objectives are to contribute to the exaltation and promotion of those scientific, cultural and humanistic values that are of universal heritage and consolidate links between the Principality of Asturias and the title that traditionally hold the heirs of the Crown of Spain.”
King Felipe served as honorary president of the organisation from its creation. However, after he became King in 2014, his older daughter, Leonor holds the honour. It was at this point that the foundation’s name was changed to the Princess of Asturias Foundation to reflect its new namesake.