The King and Queen of Belgium were received at the Vatican. The two walked through the grand corridors of the Apostolic Palace escorted by the Swiss guard to their meeting with Pope Francis.
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde presented the Pope with a ceramic work by a Belgian artist depicting the Good Shepherd. As usual, Pope Francis gave the royal couple his Message of Peace for this year.
Queen Mathilde exercised an exception reserved solely for royalty. As a sovereign, she is not required to wear black to meet with a pope.
After their meeting with Pope Francis, both met with Vatican Foreign Minister, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher. They discussed the war in Ukraine and the situation in Africa. Belgium was a former colonial power and had territories in Africa. King Philippe is the first sovereign to express his regret for the abuses committed by his countrymen in the past.