Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Princess Elizabeth meets the Pope

April 13, 1951

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh met with Pope Pius XII today in a "twenty-five minute private audience" in the Pope's library, reports United Press.

A Vatican source said that the conversation between the Pope and the heiress presumptive to the British throne was "cordial and animated."   Pius gave the princess a "beautiful engraved medal commemorating the twelfth anniversary of his coronation."

Princess Elizabeth was dressed in a "black silk long-sleeve gown  reaching almost to her ankles."  Her head was covered with a black lace veil.  The Duke of Edinburgh wore a his Royal Navy uniform with decorations.

The Pope spoke English with the royal couple.

British Protestant extremists "organized new protests" in response to Elizabeth's visit.  Elizabeth's father, King George VI is the titular head of the Church of England, "which shrugged off the protests."

In a statement released to the media, the Church of England said:  "The Princess is in Rome as a private individual and can visit whom she likes.  For her to see the Pope is a matter of common courtesy.  After all, he's a Christian leader -- why shouldn't she call on him?  There may be a difference between the Church of England and the Church of Rome, but there's certainly no enmity whatever."

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