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Princess of Asturias Awards: Spain's home-grown ‘Nobel Prizes’ and their winners
Thursday, November 10, 2022 @ 8:05 AM

WINNING a Nobel Prize might be the highest form of prestige on earth and the ultimate goal of every artist, scientist or public figurehead – but the next best thing has to be earning Spain's national version, a Princess of Asturias Award.

Some of the winners of this year's awards (photo: Princess of Asturias Foundation -

Chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall, novelists Margaret Atwood (most famous for the televised The Handmaid's Tale among her numerous bestsellers) Paul Auster (The New York Trilogy and others) and the latter's wife Siri Hustvedt (What I loved, The Sorrows of an American) have been some of the Royal 'chosen ones' over the years – but only those who have been granted the prestigious prize in the last eight years will have had one with 'Princess' on it.

Until October 2014, the Princess of Asturias Awards did not exist – because there was no such thing as a 'Princess of Asturias'. In Spain, only the immediate heir to the throne holds the title of 'Prince' or 'Princess', with the second, third and subsequent successors being an Infante or Infanta.

The Royal family presents the annual awards - King Felipe VI (centre) did so before his father abdicated, when they were then known as the Prince of Asturias Awards. To his right, Queen Letizia in a splendid satin and lace gown by Carolina Herrera and, end right, the Infanta Sofía, 15. She is named after her paternal grandmother, Queen Sofía (end left). The star of the show - aside from the actual prizewinners - is the Princess of Asturias herself, Leonor (second from left), 17, who has just started the upper sixth at her college in Wales (photo: Gtres)

Prince Felipe of Asturias, only son of King Juan Carlos I, was the first heir to the throne of Spain since the monarchy was overthrown at the beginning of the 20th century and the last King, Alfonso XIII, forced into exile; he presented the Prince of Asturias Awards every autumn from the ages of 13 to 45 inclusive.



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