My last two days in Oviedo were for the most part taken up with the celebrations for the Princesa de Asturias awards themselves, largely conducted in the presence of the King and Queen, and on the final day in the presence of what we would call the Queen Mother (that is Queen Sofia, King Felipe's mother). The formal proceedings kicked off with a concert on Thursday night in Oviedo's wonderful concert hall (much more splendid that anything we have in Cambridge -- and the size of the towns must be roughly comparable). It was a performance of Beethoven's Ninth, including the Ode to Joy (as the husband, jokingly observed, this may get banned in Britain before too long... so ENJOY).
Now, I am not a great expert in European (or any other) monarchies, and I suppose if pushed I would be a Republican (to put it another way, I wouldn't have invented monarchy in the first place, but now we have got it, there are quite a lot of other things I would get rid of first!). But the Spanish King and Queen (and Mother) had a rather different style than most of ours (in my limited experience). Sure, there was a lot of security, but there was none of that anxious protocol about how exactly they were to be addressed ("Your Majesty" on first meeting, then "ma'am', said "mam" like "jam", not 'marm'). In fact, once the other side of security, they just mingled, joked and chatted, without obvious minders hovering close; and, more to the point, the king's speech on day two (the award ceremony itself) was a lot meatier, less bland, than most of what you hear from our own lot.