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Princesa de Asturias prizes awarded with full socal distancing

The Royal Family were welcomed by traditional Asturian bagpipes.
The Royal Family were welcomed by traditional Asturian bagpipes. / EFE
  • Among the winners at the prestigious annual ceremony were the UK's Hay Festival, poet Anne Carson and Spanish healthcare workers

The annual Princesa de Asturias prize-giving ceremony took place in Oviedo last Friday in the presence of the Royal Family. The prizes reward national and international individuals and groups for outstanding achievement in different walks of life. They are widely watched across Spain.

This year the ceremony, combining Royal pageantry with Asturian regional traditions, was greatly scaled back.

Instead of guests gathering in the Campoamor theatre in Oviedo, the regional capital, a small number of guests, the winners and the Royals filled the covered inner courtyard of the neighbouring historic hotel.

The awards are named after the Princess of Asturias, the heir to the throne. This year was only the second year that 14-year-old Princess Leonor, King Felipe's eldest child, addressed the audience directly.

The princess hands rally driver Carlos Sainz his award.

The princess hands rally driver Carlos Sainz his award. / EFE

Princess Leonor appealed to young people's "sense of responsibility" in helping beat the Covid-19 pandemic. She added that she was following "very closely" the difficulties Spain was going through.

Varied prizewinners

Among this year's winners were: Carlos Sainz, rally driver, in the Sports category; Canadian Anne Carson in the Literature category; the UK-originated Hay Festival for Communications and Humanities; John Williams and the late Ennio Morricone, film score composers, for Arts; and Spanish health workers on the front line against Covid-19 in the Concord category.