POPE FRANCIS MET WITH ELIZABETH II
On 3 April 2014 the Holy Father met with Elizabeth II, who was being accompanied by her spouse, prince of Edinburgh, Philip. This meeting took place in an aula of Paul VI. There was also the British ambassador of the Apostolic See Nigel Baker. The visit of Queen Elizabeth II in Vatican lasted for about half an hour, including a private talk of the Holy Father with the Queen – 17 minutes. The queen Elizabeth II was welcomed by the state secretary of the Holy See cardinal Pedro Parolin with the secretary for relations of the Holy See with countries archbishop Dominique Mamberti and prelate priest Antoni Camilleri. There was also retired archbishop of Westminster cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. The queen apologized the Holy Father for her delay resulting from the prolonging meal at the residence of the president of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano. The Holy Father gave her facsimiles of a stored document of May 1679, under which pope Innocent XI popularized the cult of St. Edward the Confessor (an ancestor of Elizabeth II) all over the world. Whereas the queen gave the pope a basket of ecological products coming from her property, including honey, various kinds of juice, venison meat and whisky. The pope gave for the queen’s great-grandson, prince George of Canterbury, a silver cross on the top of a sphere from lapis lazuli. It concerns the ‘royal baby’, son of prince William and Kate Middleton, who will reach the age of one year this July and is the third one in the succession line of the British throne. The audience was informal, not protocoled, which is usually related to visits by the heads of countries.
It had been the fifth visit of Elizabeth II in Vatican, and the fourth one as the queen. For the first time she had been welcomed by pope Pius XII in 1951, when she had not ascended to the throne yet. Her next visits in Vatican took place in 1961 (an audience with blessed John XXIII) and in 1980 and 2000. – with blessed John Paul II. Whereas during a pilgrimage of Benedict XVI to Great Britain, she met with the Holy Father on 16 September 2010 in the Royal Palace Holyrood house near Edinburgh. Besides her royal dignity of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Elizabeth II is also the head of other 15 countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahama, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua-New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadyn, Tuval and Solomon’s Islands which, together with Great Britain, have the status of the so-called Commonwealth Realm. Elizabeth II, as the queen of the United Kingdom, is the supreme superior of the Church of England and a protector of the Scottish Presbyterian Church. On 21 April 2014, the queen will reach the age of 88. She ascended the throne on 2 June 1953.
(Catholic Informative Agency)