Princess Delivers First Major Address

Leonor, the Princess of Asturias, delivered her first major public address last week as heir to the Spanish throne.

The princess recently read parts of the Spanish Constitution during an event, but last week’s remarks at the Princess of Asturias Awards were more notable.

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TOP: Queen Sofia, Princess Leonor, King Felipe, Queen Letizia and Infanta Sofia arrive at the awards ceremony. BOTTOM: Princess Leonor, King Felipe, Queen Letizia and Infanta Sofia at the head table.

Her Royal Highness said she was honored to hold the title of Princess of Asturias and spoke of her Asturian blood. Her mother, Queen Letizia, is from Asturias.

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King Felipe had tender words for his daughter, who will soon turn 13. He told her to have courage and valor.

His words came amid violent protests in Barcelona and Madrid by Catalan pro-independence activists.

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Princess Leonor hugging her sister Infanta Sofia.

The Princess of Asturias awards are given to artists, scholars and leaders around the world.

As heir to the Spanish throne, Princess Leonor has been going through a grooming process to prepare her for public life. Last week’s speech was a key part of that effort.

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Leibovitz, Higgs Among Award Winners

Photographer Annie Leibovitz and scientist Peter Higgs were among this year’s recipients of the annual Prince of Asturias awards, held in Oviedo, capital of the Principality of Asturias in Spain.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
Queen Sofia, Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia arriving at the awards venue in Asturias.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The awards are among the most important events that the Spanish Royal Family puts on every year. The ceremony is broadcast live on television and brings out thousands of spectators.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Beyond the formal events at Campoamor Theater and the Hotel of the Reconquest, the Prince and Princess of Asturias also award a town in the principality.

This year they recognized the community of Teverga for working to overcome the downturn in mining related employment.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
The Prince and Princess in Teverga.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Prince Felipe has been taking on an increasingly visible role in recent years after King Juan Carlos’ multiple operations.