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European RoyalsSpain

Major changes to the Princess of Asturias Awards are confirmed


Casa de SM El Rey

Like most things in 2020, Spain’s annual Princess of Asturias Awards will look extremely different this year. This week the Princess of Asturias Foundation announced big changes for the event, which will be held on 16 October.

Presided over by King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, along with the Princess of Asturias and Infanta Sofía, the awards ceremony will be broadcast on television and social media from the Reconquista Hotel’s Covadonga Assembly Room in Oviedo rather than conducted in front of a live audience in the Campoamor Theatre.

Although the awards will be held in a different venue, the Covadonga Assembly Room is a meaningful location for the ceremony. According to the Foundation, “the founding act of the Princess of Asturias Foundation (then Prince of Asturias) was signed in the room. It is also where the jury announces its decisions on award winners and where Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain personally receive the laureates.”

The Princess of Asturias awards are given to individuals and institutions making a difference on an international level through work and merits in the scientific, technical, cultural, social, and humanitarian fields.

“With the utmost goals of protecting individual and public health and minimizing the risk of contributing to the virus’s propagation, the act of presenting the awards will include an extremely limited number of people (laureates and authorities) and will take place without an audience,” the Foundation announced.

A live feed will be broadcast on screens in another room inside the hotel for families of award winners, members of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and patrons.

Due to the pandemic, award recipients are not required to attend the ceremony, with the Board of Trustees agreeing to a resolution stating: “given the varied and complex situation in the laureates’ distinct countries of residence, the Foundation will not request that they travel to Asturias to attend the ceremony. Those who, of their own accord, desire to attend and who reside in territories where travel restrictions do not impede them, are able if they so choose.”

Although the traditional awards concert will not be held, the Princess of Asturias Foundation will pay tribute to Ennio Morricone and John Williams, 2020 Princess of Asturias Laureates for the Arts, with a concert on 15 October. The Principality of Asturias Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andrea Morricone and Óliver Díaz, will perform works by both composers in La Vega Former Arms Factory, Oviedo.

A pop-up drive-in cinema will also take place in the parking lot of the same location for a week before the awards with screenings of classic films with soundtracks composed by the Laureates.

About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.