Page 1, 20th April 1951

20th April 1951
Page 1
Page 1, 20th April 1951 — FIFTH ROYAL VISIT TO THE VATICAN

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Locations: Rome, Vatican City, Edinburgh


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PRINCESS Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh spent more than an hour and a half in the Vatican when on Friday morning the Holy Father received them in private audience. They conversed with His Holiness in his private library for about half an hour.

The royal visitors spent the remaining hour going through historic halls and rooms of the Apostolic Palace, meeting senior members of the Papal Secretariat of State and members of the Papal Court—and being heartily cheered en route by priests and students of the English, Scots, Beda and Canadian Colleges in Rome.

The Princess and her husband were following in the footsteps of several other members of the Royal Family.

First to go after the Reformation was King Edward VII, who visited Pope Leo XIII. King Edward VIII, when he was Prince of Wales, was received by Pope Benedict XV. King George V and Queen Mary visited Pope Pius XI soon after the first World War. Princess Margaret was received by the Holy Father two years ago.


The Princess—dressed in a long black silk gown, her head covered by a black lace mantilla —and the Duke drove to the Vatican shortly before 10 o'clock, attended by Major the Hon. Martin Charteris, private secretary to the Princess, Lady Palmer, lady-in-waiting, and Mr. Usher. Their car was followed by another with Mr. John Sebastian Somers Cocks, Chargé d'Affaires of the British Legation to the Holy See.

As the royal visitors entered the Courtyard of San Damaso, below

the Papal apartment, a platoon of the Palatine Guard rendered military honours.

They were met at the foot of the staircase by Mgr. Nardone, Secretary of the Sacred Ceremonial Congregation, the Marquis Sacchetti, Quartermaster of the Sacred Apostolic Palaces, and Mr. Henry Utley, Privy Chamberlain of the Cape and Sword, who was in attendance on Cardinal Griffin throughout the Hierarchy Centenary celebrations.

A procession was formed and, led by a sergeant of the Swiss Guard, went up to the Papal apartment.

At the entrance of the Clementine Hall the Princess and the Duke were greeted by Mgr. Callori di Vignale, Pro-Maestro di Camera. accompanied by Archbishop Venini, Private Almoner of His Holiness. and Bishop Van Lierde, the Papal Sacristan.


Present there, too, were Prince Massimo, Superintendent of Papal Posts—the successor of the official who in bygone days arranged the journeyings of the Popes — Prince Massimo Lancellotti, Bearer of the Golden Rose, Count Bennicelli, Secretary of Embassy, Count Franchi, of the Noble Guard, and Baron de Pfyffer d'Altishofen, Commandant of the Swiss Guard.

The Princess and the Duke were received by His Holiness in his private library. During their conversation they sat on two white leather chairs.

The Holy Father expressed his warm interest in the King and Queen. the Royal Family and all the peoples of the Commonwealth.

His Holiness gave the Princess an artistic image and the Duke a large gold medal commemorating the first year of his pontificate.

After the audience Mgr. Callori di Vignale introduced the members of the royal suite and the Princess presented each one to the Holy Father. His Holiness gave each a commemorative medal. From the Pope's library the royal visitors went on to meet Mgr.

Domenico Tardini, Secretary of the Sacred Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, and Mgr. Montini, Assistant Papal Secretary of State. Various other Papal dignitaries were then presented, including Prince Giulio Pacelli, a nephew of the Holy Father.

Members of the Noble Guard, Palatine Guard and Papal Gendarmes rendered honours in each room as the royal party went through.


When the Princess and the Duke returned to the Clementine Hall a detachment of the Swiss Guards was drawn up. Behind them stood many priests and students of the English, Scots, Beda and Canadian Colleges, with their Rectors, who gave the royal visitors three rousing cheers.

Baron Nogara, Director General of the Papal Museums, escorted them on a visit to the Loggia of Raphael, Royal and Ducal Halls, the Borgia Apartment and the Sistine Mianwhile, the British priests and students had gone down to the Courtyard of San Damaso to cheer the royal visitors as they left Vatican City at 11.30.

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