ANTI-COVID restrictions imposed a less tumultuous welcome than usual for Spain’s King Felipe during his recent visit to Alicante City.
There was no walkabout, but he waved through his car’s open window as he arrived at the Las Cigarreras cultural centre for the annual Fundacion Princesa de Girona awards.
Nevertheless, an entire detachment of the Policia Nacional’s elite Prevention and Response Unit (UPR) was brought in, while police were positioned at street level and on rooftops.
The Foundation, presided by King Felipe’s daughter, the Infanta Leonor, presents yearly awards for Science, Art and Literature, Businesses and Social Affairs as well as an International category.
This year’s Science prize went to pioneering bio-technologist Cesar de la Fuente Nuñez from La Coruña (Galicia) who leads a Pennsylvania University team that uses artificial intelligence to create computer-generated antibiotics capable of fighting deadly superbugs.
Although King Felipe did not make an official speech, he spent three hours at Las Cigarreras, talking not only to local, provincial and regional politicians but also to pupils and students taking part in the event.
Amongst them were pupils aged 16 and 17 from Fray Ignacio Barrachina high school in Ibi who will represent the Valencian Community in the national finals thanks to their game that makes science a fun subject.
To offset King Felipe’s inevitably low-key visit, Alicante City mayor Luis Barcala invited him to return in June for the start of the Ocean Race and the inauguration of an extension to the Rey Felipe VI business incubator.
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