BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Royal correspondant Nicholas Witchell
"The meeting was notably warm on both sides"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 17 October, 2000, 12:31 GMT
Queen and Pope discuss peace
Queen Elizabeth meets Pope John Paul II
The Queen met the Pope in his private library
The Queen and the Pope have met at the Vatican and shared views on progress towards Christian unity and the Northern Ireland peace process.

The meeting was held in private in Pope John Paul II's library where they exchanged texts setting out their thoughts and spent more than 20 minutes in discussion.

It is the Queen's third visit to the Vatican and the second during the tenure of the present Pope.

They shook hands warmly and the Queen told the Pontiff it was "a great pleasure" to see him again, as the pair recalled their last meeting was at Buckingham Palace in 1982.

Thanked for support

Observing Vatican protocol the Queen, who is head of the Church of England, wore a black wool suit and a pill box hat with a short veil.

It is understood she thanked the Pope for his support in the quest for peace in Northen Ireland and said although religion could be a divisive factor it could also bring about healing.

Debt in the developing world was also on the agenda.

The 80-year-old Pope, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, appeared physically frail but mentally alert.

The Royal visit to the Vatican was followed by a trip to the Anglican Centre in the Italian capital.

The Queen, who arrived in Italy with Prince Philip on Monday, is spending four days touring some of the country's cultural assets.

Pope John Paul II
The Pope is suffering from Parkinson's Disease
She will view the Sistine Chapel and attend a concert at the world-famous La Scala opera house in Milan.

At a state banquet on Monday evening, the Queen expressed sympathy for those affected by floods in northern Italy, which have claimed the lives of 12 people.

First met 20 years ago

Anglican-Catholic relations are said to be good following a successful meeting, set up by the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury, between bishops and cardinals in Toronto in May.

The Queen first met Pope John Paul in Italy 20 years ago to the day, then again when he visited Britain in 1982.

In 1980 the Queen dressed entirely in black, with a tiara holding a cascade veil in place.

The royal party's arrival at Rome airport on Monday did not go entirely smoothly when baggage handlers dropped several items of the Queen's luggage on the runway.

Any embarrassment was tactfully avoided as the Queen was ceremonially welcomed by the Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.

This week's tour has provoked much interest in the Italian press, not merely due to the Queen's meeting with the Pope, but because of her dislike of garlic.

Chefs have been told to spare the garlic - essential to many Italian dishes - when catering for the Royals.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories