Friday, April 11, 2014

Pontiff Greets Queen

Last week, England's Queen Elizabeth had her first meeting with the new Catholic pope, Francis, in Vatican City.

The queen and her consort arrived 20 minutes late, explaining that their previous engagement, a luncheon with the president of Italy, had gone longer than expected.

Francis did not seem upset.  He received the royal couple in his study, not his grand apartment at the Apostolic Palace, which I doubt he visits often in any event.  They talked for 20 minutes.

Apparently the queen broke with tradition and wore a lilac suit with one of those flowered hats she favors.  Maybe she took out her Easter outfit a couple weeks early this year.

In fact, women meeting with a pope usually wear black dresses and wear veils.  I'm not all that traditional myself, but I were meeting Francis, especially during Lent, I probably would have stuck with the tried-and-true. (BTW, I have a perfectly appropriate LBD with matching tights and pumps if anyone in the Papal Nuncio happens to be reading this.)

The queen explained that she broke with tradition because the meeting was casual, not formal.  To be fair, casual for her doesn't appear to mean a velour track suit and sneakers. Honestly, who has ever described the queen as a casual dresser, let alone a stylish one?

The pope took it all in stride.  He seems to be a regular guy, not the sort whose cassock would be blown up by the sight of an older woman in a pastel costume.

One can only wonder what the two of them possibly could have had to say to each other for a whole 20 minutes.  For that matter, what could the queen have had to discuss with Italy's president?  IMF policy? Crimea? That rascal Berlusconi and his romps?  I don't think so.

My guess is that Francis and Elizabeth both were satisfied, if not relieved, when the chit-chat was over.

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