Queen Sofía arrived at the old bullring in Puerto Banús, now converted into the Marbella Arena auditorium, at the stroke of ten o'clock in the evening on Wednesday, 20 July. She was accompanied by her sister Irene as the personal guest of the prestigious conductor Zubin Mehta, a friend of Her Majesty.
Wearing an elegant black design with floral print combined with green trousers and matching scarf, she was welcomed by the event's organiser, Sophie de Borbón-Karoly, who married Fran de Borbón, son of the Duke of Seville, Francisco de Borbón, last summer, together with the Mayor of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz.
It was a particularly moving event in which she was accompanied by her closest family and friends. One of the first to arrive was the cousin of the emeritus monarch, María Luisa of Prussia, who a few days earlier had expressed her excitement at being able to meet her relative again. "We have already seen each other", she told SUR as she entered the venue with her husband, Count Rudy. "It has been seven years since we last met", she recalled, adding: "I love her very much".
Queen Sofía is a great music lover and did not want to miss the opportunity to enjoy the open-air concert of the virtuoso – a good friend – considered one of the best living conductors in the world. Mehta conducted the concert in homage to Queen Sofia for her 80th birthday. In 2018 Queen Sofía and her sister Irene flew to Italy when Mehta performed at the Florence May Festival after a season of absence due to ill-health.
Other well-known faces were also present, such as Beatriz de Orleans, who was thrilled to be able to enjoy a "fantastic" date with "the best orchestra leader in the world". "We are very excited", she said. "It's such a beautiful event." She was joined by Hubertus of Hohenlohe, son of Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe, and his wife, Simona Gandolfi.
"I'm more into pop and rock, but classical music is always very inspiring for the soul," Hubertus said.
"I'm very happy to return to a place where I spent a lot of time with my father watching people like Paquirri or El Cordobés when I was a little boy. It reminds me a lot of the Marbella of the old days", he added.
Mehta's was the inaugural concert of the Encore Classical Music Festival, an initiative launched by the aristocrat Sophie de Borbón-Karoly with the intention of staging numerous productions, galas, concerts, operas and ballets, which are being prepared for the coming years. The event aims to become one of the world's leading classical music festivals, hosting orchestras and soloists of the highest calibre.