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Pope Francis

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The Queen is in Rome!

2014-04-03

Queen Elizabeth II has probably met more Popes than any other queen. She met Pius XII back in 1951 when she was still a princess. Then John XXIII in 1961. John Paul II met her twice at the Vatican and once in the UK,  followed by Benedict XVI's visit in 2010. 

Thursday marks the first meeting between Pope Francis and the Queen. 

NIGEL BAKER
British Ambassador to the Holy See
"It will be an unusual visit, in one sense, at the Vatican because unlike her previous visits to Rome, protocol will be very light. This is a mutual preference.”

Despite the casual and informal atmosphere, the meeting is quite symbolic. 2014, marks 100 years since the UK and the Holy See established  diplomatic relations. 

NIGEL BAKER
British Ambassador to the Holy See
"That was in 1914 after a very long hiatus going back to 1570 when relations between the Holy See and England at the time were broken when Queen Elizabeth I was excommunicated by the Pope.”

Since then, there's been a lot of progress.  The Queen is the supreme governor of the Church of England. Under her reign the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Anglican communion has improved dramatically. She also saw the effects of the Second Vatican Council come to life. 

NIGEL BAKER
British Ambassador to the Holy See
"There are very few people she hasn’t met over the last 60 years, or more than 60 years now of her reign.” 

In fact, Queen Elizabeth II is one of the few people who actually met John XXIII and John Paul II, both of whom will be canonized on April 27th. The Queen won't be able to make it to the ceremony, but a close family member will be there instead. 

NIGEL BAKER
British Ambassador to the Holy See
"She is going to be represented at the canonization by her cousin, the Duke of Gloucester. For her it was very important that she was personally represented here for the canonization.”

So, April 3, 2014 will be jotted down in history as the day when Queen Elizabeth II held her 7th papal meeting. 


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