The red and the black: Elizabeth II at the Papal courts

With Pope John Paul II in 1980

The Queen has met Pope Francis at the Vatican for the first time, in an informal meeting dressed in lavender. It was a far cry from the formality and flowing black attire of her first visit to the Vatican as Princess Elizabeth to meet Pope Pius XII, in 1951. 

 - Vatican Radio

When Princess Elizabeth was received by Pius XII, former Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor was studying for the priesthood at the Venerable English College. The Cardinal told Vatican Radio's Philippa Hitchen: 'When I met her afterwards, she said she was quite terrified, Buckingham Palace is all very well but it doesn't compare with the Vatican.'

The second time she went to the Vatican, she was received as Queen Elizabeth II, in  1961 - this time the Pope was John XXIII who will soon be canonised by Pope Francis.

Rosminian Father John Charles-Roux once shared with Veronica Scarisbrick his memories of that event which took place in the context of the Renaissance splendour of the papal court of the time. 

A splendour which, he says, Pope John seemed to enjoy: 'He used the room of the Tronetto, which Pius XII never used...when he received the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh there was a display of the court that amazed all the English people. The Queen and the Duke came back absolutely thrilled by the display of that Renaissance court in its full splendour...'

In this programme from Vatican Radio, Veronica Scarisbrick also brings you an article written by the late John Grigg, Lord Altrincham, who describes an audience with John XXIII as more homely than regal: 'Pope John XXIII makes even an audience in Saint Peter's seem like an intimate family occasion...'

To listen to the programme presented and produced by Veronica Scarisbrick, CLICK HERE.


When Pope John Paul had tea with the Queen (Vatican Radio)


Pope Francis and Queen Elizabeth II: shared Christian heritage (Vatican Radio)

Queen meets Pope Francis at the Vatican (BBC)

The Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion (Vatican)


Raw: British Queen Meets With Pope Francis (AP/YouTube)

Pope Francis holds first meeting with the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby (Rome Reports/YouTube)

Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Pope Benedict to United Kingdom (YouTube)

Pope John Paul II visit to the UK - Thames Television (YouTube)

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