Empowering Speech for the Youth Delivered by HRH The Princess of Asturias

Princess Leonor delivered speech

Her Royal Highness, Leonor, the Princess of Asturias, the heir-presumptive of His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain is set to take over the chairmanship of the two foundations related to her official titles - the Princess of Asturias Foundation and the Princess of Girona Foundation - next year, October 2023, when she turns 18. For now, her father held the two positions in her name. 

Princess Leonor is in her last year in secondary school at the United World College of the Atlantic in England, where the future Belgian Queen, Princess Elisabeth, and Princess Alexia, the second daughter of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, also attended.

The Princess of Asturias delivering a speech

She was guided and supported by her father, King Felipe VI

Leonor has a younger sister, Infanta Sofia (she is not titled Princess because she is not in direct succession to the Spanish throne) named after their grandmother, Queen Sofia, a niece of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and the older sister of Constantine II, the former King of Greece.

Last night the Spanish royals - King Felipe VI, Queen Letizia, Queen Sofia, Princess Leonor, and Infanta Sofia - attended the Princess of Asturias Awarding Ceremony in Oviedo, the capital of the Principality of Asturias located in Northern Spain.

King Felipe VI, Infanta Sofia, Princess Leonor, and Queen Letizia

Queen Sofia, Princess Leonor, and Infanta Sofia

Princess Leonor looked resplendent in a sequined mini dress from Michael Kors and a pair of black slingback suede pumps from Carolina Herrera. Infanta Sofia also wore a sequined ensemble - a navy blue wrapped dress from El Corte Ingles, which she paired with her navy blue suede pumps from Lodi shoes. It was also the first time that Sofia, who is only 15, wore heels! 

Style icons: Queen Letizia, Princess Leonor, and Infanta Sofia

Morning of October 28 before the Awards Ceremony. Queen Letizia in a Cherubina dress, Princess Leonor wore a Tweed outfit from Carolina Herrera, and Infanta Sofia in a striped dress from Boss

Infanta Sofia towers over her older sister, Princess Leonor, and mother, Queen Letizia

The Princess of Asturias, the King and Queen, and Infanta Sofia

One of the highlights of the Awards night was the speech delivered by Princess Leonor in which she emphasized the responsibility of the youth and the enthusiasm to learn.

Her full speech:

"I am very happy to return to Asturias yet another year to present these Awards, which show that excellent work, constant effort, and a sense of responsibility lead to great results.

In a few days, I will be 17 years old. And I assure you that discovering the work of our Laureates helps me better understand the world around us. Their work spurs me –spurs everyone really– to keep learning. I have read about each one of them and I am impressed with what they have achieved. I care and am interested because I know that your work, and your efforts, look to the future while influencing the present.

I care that two exceptional artists remind us that flamenco is a living, rich, powerful, universal art… our art. A refined art in which María Pagés and Carmen Linares achieve the harmony of those who evolve and at the same time maintain the essence of tradition.

It matters to and has an impact on me that Adam Michnik is not afraid to practice responsible, rigorous journalism. The fact that, despite his stark personal experiences, this journalist, historian, and a great advocate of Democracy works for reconciliation between his fellow citizens and the most optimistic Europeanism demonstrates his exemplary spirit.

It matters to me that the anthropologist and archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma has devoted his life to reconstructing and documenting with great scientific rigor what life was like for the inhabitants of pre-Hispanic Mexico. He reveals the past to us so we may understand what we are and what ancient and current societies have in common.

I care that the playwright and academic Juan Mayorga thinks that theatre is the art of gathering together –and so the art of the actor-spectator relationship– and that theatre helps us examine real as well as possible lives. It is also important to me that this Award serves so that art, culture, and Mayorga’s special philosophical and mathematical perspective may be afforded the value they deserve and help us ask ourselves questions.

It matters to me that our Laureates in Science research Artificial Intelligence because these are technologies that are already with us today and which will continue to allow us to advance in this field; so that machines may be Humanity’s allies and make life easier for us. Hinton, Hassabis, Bengio, and LeCun have shown that the social impact of Artificial Intelligence needs resources and attention.

I also care and am very concerned that athletes cannot train or advance their careers because they have been forced to flee their countries. That is why it is such a great initiative that, thanks to the Refugee Olympic Team and the Olympic Refuge Foundation, athletes in this situation have had the opportunity for some years now to continue their pursuits in order to compete in the Olympic Games.

And it matters to me that architect Shigeru Ban cares about people who have lost their homes as a result of war, hurricanes or earthquakes; and that he provides them with solutions to live without having to give up the right to privacy and dignity. He is also a reference in terms of sustainable materials.

And I also care that Ellen MacArthur has managed to get governments, scientific institutions, major companies, and society to work together to make better use of natural resources, propose solutions to avoid the loss of biodiversity, and explain to us how a circular economy works and what its advantages are.

It matters to me, in short, that we are all here celebrating and learning, and that we recognize our Laureates in the best spirit that these times need. That is why I thank all of you who support the Princess of Asturias Foundation in so many, many ways for your efforts and support.

We, young people, are aware that the current situation is not easy, that the world has changed and continues to change, and that the best way to move forward is to maintain the enthusiasm to learn, to equip ourselves with a sense of responsibility and a capacity for effort; to learn from those who know, those who do what they do impeccably, often silently. For this reason, on days like today, listening to, admiring, and recognizing the excellence of our Laureates makes us feel that things can always change for the better. 

Thank you very much".

Sources: The Princess of Asturias Foundation's website and the Spanish royal family's official website, Casa Real

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