The future queen of Spain has carried out a major royal duty for the first time. Leonor, Princess of Asturias has presented the Awards which bear her title and pledged her life to the service of Spain.
Leonor took centre stage at the prize ceremony at the Campoamor Theatre in Oviedo. She handed out the awards to recipients recognised for their excellence in areas including literature, arts, sport and science.
The princess also made her first major speech in which she promised to serve Spain and all Spaniards and had special words of praise for her maternal grandmother, Queen Sofia. She also spoke proudly of having ‘Asturian blood’ as her mother, Queen Letizia, was born and raised in Oviedo.
Sofia watched the ceremony from the auditorium having earlier walked the blue carpet with the rest of the royal party in attendance. King Felipe VI, Queen Letizia and Infanta Sofia joined Leonor on the main stage for the presentation of the prizes.
During his speech, King Felipe told his daughter that serving Spain was ”the greatest pride and honour” she could achieve and said her duty now was to always act ”with courage” and with hope.
The Princess of Asturias Awards were first presented in 1980. They are overseen by the Princess of Asturias Foundation, a not for profit organisation, which aims to promote cultural and scientific values. Prizes are awarded in a variety of categories including sport, social sciences and international co-operation. The foundation also seeks to consolidate the links between the region of Asturias and the title ‘Princess (or Prince) of Asturias’ which is traditionally held by the heir to the Spanish throne.
Earlier in the day, Leonor had joined her parents and sister at a reception for recipients of the Asturias medal for 2019. They had also held an audience for the recipients of the main awards. Tomorrow, they will travel to the village recognised as the Asturian community of the year for another day of engagements.
But it will be Leonor’s debut at this major awards ceremony, recognised globally for its contribution to promoting arts and science, that will be remembered in years to come. It was an historic debut for a girl born to be queen and one that she, herself, called ”one of the most important of my life”.