The Queen, Head of the Church of England, to Meet Pope Francis on April 3
By Vittorio Hernandez | February 5, 2014 10:14 AM EST
Two heads of churches are meeting in April and the event would surely be a historic one because the heads are no ordinary clerics. One is a queen and the other one is a pope.
Buckingham Palace, which was recently in the news recently because of the Queen's dwindling finances, announced that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will visit Pope Francis on April 3.
The royal couple would also have private lunch with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.
It would be the first meeting between the queen, who had held on to her post for several decades, and the pontiff who would celebrate his one year as leader of the Roman Catholic Church on March 13.
The queen has met previous popes when she visited Vatican City in 1980 and 1961. In the first visit, the pontiff then was Pope John XXIII and in her second visit, it was Pope John Paul II.
She returned for a second visit in 2000. But this time, the queen is breaking tradition with what she did in her 3 past papal visits by opting not to wear black dress which is the tradition in Vatican.
The change would likely not irk Pope Francis who is known for shunning extreme traditionalism in the church.
In her first two visits, the Queen donned a black dress and wore a tiara that held a cascade veil in place. In 2000, she again put on a black dress and a hat with a veil. Royal tradition actually frowns on female members of the royal family wearing black.
Besides the Italian visit on April 3, Buckingham also announced on Monday that the 87-year-old monarch and the duke will make a three-day state visit to France in June to attend events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy and meet French President Francois Hollande in Paris.
Queen Elizabeth, head of the Church of England, has been cutting her long-haul trips recently. She met the previous pope, Benedict XVI, in Scotland in 2010.
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