The King of Spain met Zorro this week. Queen Letizia’s husband, Felipe, honored the Hollywood star Antonio Banderas, who is originally from Málaga, Spain, with the Franklin Institute’s “Camino Real” award on Wednesday, April 26 at the Alcala de Henares University in Madrid. The prestigious award recognizes the professional work of Spaniards who project and enhance a positive image of Spain in the United States.

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VER GALERÍA Antonio was presented with the Camino Real award by the King Photo: Casa de S.M. el Rey

The Spanish monarch said, ”The Camino Real award now falls into the figure of one of the most versatile Spaniards, Antonio Banderas. Banderas is a clear example of talent, ingenuity and versatility that our land is capable of giving. Not only is he an actor of recognized prestige, but he has also developed an infinite number of activities within and outside his profession. He has produced artistic creations on both sides of the Atlantic, directed films both in Spain and the United States and has been a successful singer on Broadway. "

King Felipe congratulated the 56-year-old actor for his recognition telling Antonio, “Your merits for it are many and very evident," adding, "You are already part of the long history of union between Spain and North America, and you are also a reference and a model of personal and professional improvement.” The royal dad-of-two also noted that Antonio’s work and tenacity have made Spaniards proud. Felipe said, “To give you this award, which represents the Camino Real, and which is the work of the sculptor Carlos Ciriza, is a great satisfaction, a joy.”

VER GALERÍA The actor brought his girlfriend (second from the left) to the ceremony to meet the Spanish monarch Photo: Instagram/@antoniobanderasoficial

The name of the award itself refers to the routes Camino Real de Tierra Adentro and Camino Real de California, which were used by Spaniards to travel from Mexico to the northern territories that currently form part of the United States. Antonio was joined by his girlfriend Nicole Kimpel for the ceremony in Madrid. The Mask of Zorro star took to Instagram to his express his gratitude over receiving the distinguished award from the King. Sharing a photo of himself with his girlfriend and the monarch, Antonio wrote, “A great honor to receive the Camino Real award from HM Felipe VI, King of Spain.”

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