There was lavish pomp and ceremony at the prestigious Prince of Asturias awards in Spain. Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Letizia Ortiz presided over the proceedings that opened with a bagpipe rendition of the national anthem. Queen Sofia followed the events from the royal box in Oviedo’s Campoamor theatre where the ceremony unfurled.
Eight prizes were handed out, winners received 50,000 euros and a statue by Joan Miro. Ireland’s first woman president Mary Robinson won the Social Sciences category. Paul Auster, a prolific American writer was singled out for the Letters award: “Every novel is an equal collaboration between the writer and the reader and it is the only place in the world where two strangers can meet in terms of absolute intimacy. I have spent my life in conversations with people I have never seen, with people I have never known, and I hope to continue until the day I stop breathing, it’s the only job I ever wanted,” he said addressing the crowds at the ceremony.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was honoured for the International Cooperation award. Spain’s celebrated film-maker Pedro Almodovar scooped the Arts. Concord was won by the leading children’s charity Unicef. Juan Ignacio Cirac took home the Scientific and Technical Research prize for his work on quantum computing. And for Sport there was a formidable line up. Spain’s basket ball team, the world champions, were chosen for their exemplary team spirit.