The glamour of the annual Princess of Asturias Awards ceremony, held in Oviedo, captivates the entire world of arts, culture, and science.
But what are the origins of these prestigious awards that have honored figures such as John Williams, Emmanuelle Charpentier, and Elizabeth Taylor? Their roots go back to the history of Spain.
What are the Princess of Asturias Awards?
The story begins in 1388 when King John I of Castile granted the title of “Prince of Asturias” to his heir, Prince Henry. For centuries, the monarch’s firstborn inherited this distinction.
In 1980, the Prince of Asturias Awards Foundation was created in Oviedo to “reward scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanistic work carried out in the international arena”.
Prince Felipe, at the age of 12, accepted the role of honorary president, which gave the ceremony royalties.
The statutes outlined the objective: to honor the values that drive the progress of humanity, especially in Spanish-speaking nations. A year later, the first ceremony was held at the Campoamor Theater.
In his inaugural speech, King Juan Carlos I shared his joy at this “important event”.
How many categories are there in the Princess of Asturias Awards?
The initial awards covered six categories: arts, social sciences, communication/humanities, scientific/technical research, literature, and international cooperation.
Over the following decades, more awards were added, including those for sports and concord.
Exemplary Town Award
In 1991, the Exemplary Town Award was introduced to recognize an Asturian municipality that defended the cultural heritage and values of the community.
The Royal Family visits the winning town the day after the main ceremony.
Throughout the 1990s, the awards evolved from an Ibero-American focus to international nominations.
In 2014, with the accession to the throne of Prince Felipe, the ceremony was renamed the Princess of Asturias Awards.
Over 40 years, King Felipe VI has only missed one edition, in 1998 for study reasons.
How are the winners selected?
The juries meet from April to June to select the winners, who are notified during the summer. October was designated as the permanent month of the gala.
What began as a local initiative to honor the achievements of Hispanics has grown into one of the world’s most prestigious awards in science, culture, and other fields.