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The Queen has made 380 state visits over the course of her 59-year reign

Mary Kenny says that Queen Elizabeth II’s historic trip to the Republic of Ireland next week could be her most challenging state visit

The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, sets off on March 2 in a horse-drawn carriage to make the journey from Archbishop’s House, Westminster, to Buckingham Palace, where he presented his Letter of Credence to the Queen

Archbishop Antonio Mennini was presenting his diplomatic credentials to the Queen

Photo: PA

At 83, she has seen a great many state occasions in her lifetime

Westminster Hall (Photo: PA)

His address to the Queen will be equally historic, but it’s the one at the Palace of Westminster which will have a lasting impact

Courtesy of the British embassy to the Holy See

In 1961 and 1980 she made official visits to meet John XXIII and John Paul II

Peter Mandelson was lauded by the Times last week as a national treasure (Photo: PA)

Here are five simple criteria for anyone wishing to achieve national treasure status. Prince Philip makes it; Peter Mandelson and Stephen Fry do not

Archbishop Nichols: 'Faith in God brings great riches and joy to men' (Mazur/CCN)

Archbishop Nichols says it will be a chance to show secularised society that faith is a gift, not a problem

Raphael tapestries hung in the Sistine Chapel (Photo: Vatican Museums)

Yesterday, for the first time since 1983, the Vatican hung the tapestries on the walls of the Sistine Chapel where they are thought to have originally been located

Usually the Pope returns to Rome on the national carrier of the country he's visiting (PA photo)

The detail emerged as the Holy See formally announced the Pope’s state visit

Lord Patten is overseeing preparations for the state aspects of the Pope's visit (Mazur/www.thepapalvisit.org.uk)

Papal visit ‘will put an end to any Catholic feeling like a second-class citizen’