Veteran Spanish Diplomat Receives His Country’s Highest Honor

Latin American Herald Tribune (Link) (January 22, 2010)

King Juan Carlos has conferred the Order of the Golden Fleece, Spain’s highest honor, on Javier Solana, a former NATO chief and top foreign policy representative for the European Union, a spokesman for the royal palace said Thursday.

Also receiving the distinction was the director of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language, Victor Garcia de la Concha.

Solana, who was NATO secretary-general from 1995-1999 before serving for a decade as the EU foreign policy chief, was recognized for his work on behalf of Spain and Europe.

The king honored Garcia de la Concha for his dedication to maintaining the unity of the Spanish language.

Garcia de la Concha’s 10-year tenure as director of the Royal Academy has been marked by the publication of authoritative guides on Spanish spelling and grammar.

Considered the world’s most prestigious dynastic honor, the Order of the Golden Fleece was created in 1429 by Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, and passed eventually to the Spanish monarchy through marriage and inheritance.

Others who have been inducted into the order by King Juan Carlos include former Spanish Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez, Saudi Arabia�s King Abdullah and Queen Elizabeth II of Britain.