Sunday, May 8, 2011

50 years ago: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit the pope

On May 5, 1961 Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, at the close of a state visit to Italy, had a private audience at the Vatican with Pope John XXIII. It was the first meeting of a pope and a British monarch in 38 years, although the queen had been received by Pope Pius XII when she was Princess Elizabeth.

During their cordial 25-minute meeting, the pontiff and the queen exchanged gifts, and the pope, addressing her in French, said that British-Vatican relations had been "rich with comforting promises for development of good understanding and reciprocal friendship."

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