Queen Elizabeth II met Pope Francis for the first time today.
The historic meeting took place in the Pope’s study at the Vatican and marked the fifth time the Queen has met a pope in Rome.
The Queen, who was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, spoke to Pope Francis for 17 minutes and presented the Pontiff with a hamper of British produce including goods grown in the gardens of Royal palaces.
The gifts included honey, juices, venison and whisky. The Pope presented the Queen with a cross mounted on lapis lazuli, a present for Prince George of Cambridge, the eight-month-old son of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
The Queen, who ran about 20 minutes late after meeting Italian president Giorgio Napolitano, reportedly told Pope Francis: “Sorry to keep you waiting; we were having a very pleasant lunch [with the Italian president].”
The Queen has visited three previous popes in Rome, first as Princess Elizabeth in 1951 when she was received by Pope Pius XII, by Blessed John XXIII in 1961 and by Blessed John Paul II in 1980 and 2000. She also met Blessed John Paul and Benedict XVI on their respective visits to Britain in 1982 and 2010.