King Felipe and Queen Letizia have been in Oviedo, Spain, for the previous two days to participate in events for the Princess of Asturias Foundation, on behalf of their soon to be 11-year-old daughter, Leonor, Princess of Asturias. Leonor will celebrate her birthday on 31 October.
On their first day in Oviedo, the King and Queen attended the XXV Concert Princess of Asturias Awards. The 25th annual concert boasted a performance by the Symphony Orchestra of the Principality of Asturias and the Choir of the Princess of Asturias Foundation of the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 “Choral” by Ludwig van Beethoven.
Their Majesties then attended a dinner held in their honour at the Market Square Trascorrales, which was hosted by the president of the foundation. The award winners were also in attendance.
Earlier in the day, His Majesty received the winners of various awards from the Princess of Asturias Foundation, trustee board members of the foundation, and the selection committee.
The winners consisted of journalist José Manuel Vaquero and painter Alejandro Mieres.
The Princess of Asturias Awards Ceremony took place on Friday afternoon at the Campoamor Theater of Oviedo with King Felipe presiding over the ceremony. Queen Letizia and Felipe’s mother, Queen Sofía were also in attendance. Felipe and Letizia sat at the head of the table on stage, while Queen Sofía watched the ceremony from the royal box.
His Majesty opened the ceremony and gave a speech to the assembled guests. During his remarks, the King said, “For the Queen and me, returning to Asturias each fall for this great cultural event has become much more than an emotional and inspiring tradition. It is a very special and fondly expected date that we expect with intensity by the certainty that it inspires us because it broadens our horizons of knowledge and, even with the daily tragedies that are happening in the world, it reinforces our confidence in civilisation and in the human being.”
He continued, “A nation that loves, respects and protects culture, will never fear the future.”
King Felipe stressed how important it is to honour and show appreciation to those who make such a positive impact on Spain and the world. He told the audience, “It is a privilege to congratulate and thank the winners and express deep admiration we feel for their work.”
At one point during his speech, the King accidentally referred to the awards as the Prince of Asturias Awards instead of the Princess of Asturias Awards. This was not the first time that His Majesty misspoke regarding the title. In previous years, Felipe has reverted back to using Prince of Asturias. No doubt this is due to His Majesty holding the Prince of Asturias title for 37 years from 1977 to his ascension to the Spanish throne in 2014 after the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos.
Award winners included: Princess of Asturias Award for Concord: SOS Children’s Villages; Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences: Winifred Mary Beard; Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities: James Nachtwey; Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts: Nuria Espert; Princess of Asturias Award for Sports: Javier Gomez Noya; Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research: Hugh Herr; Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement; and Princess of Asturias Award for Literature: Richard Ford.
Following the ceremony, a reception was held at the Hotel de la Reconquista by Their Majesties to honour the award recipients.
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 oldest 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.
The Spanish Monarchy said in a press release yesterday, “The ceremony of the Awards is considered one of the most important cultural events of the international agenda. Throughout its history, the awards have received various awards, such as the extraordinary statement that UNESCO held in 2004 for his outstanding contribution to the cultural heritage of humanity.”
You can watch the Princess of Asturias Awards on the Spanish Monarchy’s YouTube account.