NEW YORK – The World Monuments Fund has presented Spain’s Queen Sofia with the 2015 Hadrian Award in recognition of her efforts to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Spain and Ibero-America.
The queen, who praised the organization’s work over the past 50 years and said she was grateful for the prize, used her address to discuss the importance of heritage and art conservation for peace, and expressed regret over the destruction of historic monuments during military conflicts.
“The monuments remind us of our past, they’re a symbol of what our ancestors have achieved, and of their beliefs and values,” Sofia said.
“Our common legacy can help us to see beyond our differences and to recognize our common past,” the queen said.
Sofia also discussed the tradition of conserving art and history in Spain, making the country “one of the main destinations for cultural tourism for its huge heritage diversity.”
The queen, who recalled the 40 years she had dedicated to supporting art and history in Spain and Latin America, said that “a cultural legacy has an important role in the development process.”
Sofia said in her address that she was especially touched at receiving the Hadrian Award and noted that the Roman emperor “was born in Hispania and grew up in Italica, which is now known as Seville.”
The queen complimented Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, who won the 2015 Watch Award for leading efforts in Bahrain to develop the structure to preserve her country’s heritage and allow the practice of sustainable tourism.
The event was held at Cipriani, an iconic restaurant in New York’s Grand Central Terminal.
The Spanish royal was dressed classically, with a long tulle black skirt and a pearl-colored silk blazer.
In her clutch bag, King Felipe’s mother carried a traditional black Spanish fan, which she used during the event.
The gala dinner’s main course was Colorado lamb, although a vegetarian option, which Sofia preferred, was offered.
The World Monuments Fund, headed by historian Bonnie Burnham, is a prívate non-profit organization founded in 1965 by people concerned about the destruction of the world’s most treasured sites.
The event was also attended by New York philanthropists, such as Dr. Valentin Fuster, who praised Sofia during his speech, as well as renowned New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham.