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29th April 2014

Queen Sofía of Spain visits Exeter College

Exeter College was delighted and honoured to welcome Her Majesty Queen Sofía of Spain, an Honorary Fellow of Exeter, to Oxford today. Her Majesty visited the College as part of the celebrations to mark the 700th anniversary since Exeter College was founded by Bishop Walter de Stapeldon in 1314.

Queen Sofía’s visit also celebrated the proud links between Exeter College, the University of Oxford and Spain. Exeter College has long had a special connection with Spain: it is the seat of the University of Oxford’s most important chair in Hispanic Studies, the King Alfonso XIII Professorship of Spanish Literature, established in 1927, currently held by Professor Edwin Williamson. Exeter also has a junior research position named for Her Majesty, the Queen Sofía Junior Fellowship, which was created in 1988 for outstanding young Hispanists focussing on a full-time research project in Modern and Contemporary Spanish Literature. The Junior Fellowship is currently held by Dr Daniela Omlor.

Queen Sofía attended a colloquium that offered a glimpse into the research currently undertaken by Professor Williamson and Dr Omlor as well as that of three current students studying Spanish Literature at Exeter.

Later Her Majesty attended lunch in Exeter’s 17th century dining hall. She proposed a toast to the College and said “In 1989 I was appointed an Honorary Fellow of Exeter College, a distinction and honour which has always filled me with pride.

“I am truly happy to join you today for the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of Exeter College, an august institution which, throughout its history, has contributed to the development of society through its remarkable educational vocation and its excellent academic achievement.”

Later Queen Sofía met with Spanish nationals who study or work at Exeter College. She then took a tour of the grounds and viewed the College’s deeds of foundation and other archive material before listening to the College Choir sing in the Chapel.

The Spanish royal household’s review of the day is available to read here.

A complete set of photos from the day can be viewed here.

The speeches from the colloquium are available to read by clicking below:

Queen Sofía meets Professor Edwin Williamson


Queen Sofía meets Antzine Aramburu (2013, English) and other Spanish students and members of staff


Her Majesty inspects the Psalter of Humphrey de Bohun, one of the College’s precious books (© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Spanish Royal household)


Her Majesty with members of the Exeter College Chapel Choir (© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Spanish Royal household)

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