martedì 1 aprile 2014

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh's State Visit to Italy

Hello everyone! I thought it’d be nice to provide a little background information on the State visit to Rome and the Holy See that Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh will undertake on Thrusday, 3 April.

Flags of Italy (being unfurled down the side of the Colosseum) and of the Holy See.
This will be in every respect a flash visit, with the Queen and the Duke only staying for a day. The official announcement from the Palace provided a bit more information on the day’s engagements:
The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, will visit Rome on Thursday 3rd April. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness are visiting at the invitation of the President of Italy, President Napolitano.
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will visit the Presidential Palace where they will attend a private lunch hosted by The President.
Following the private lunch Her Majesty and His Royal Highness will have an Audience with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican.

This is the fourth State visit to Italy by the Queen (previous ones where in 1961, 1980 and 2000), although there have been a number of private visits in between (the Queen actually celebrated her 25th birthday with a party at Villa Adriana, near Rome, during the course of one such private visit).

1961: the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh with former senator and Prime Minister Mr Andreotti on the steps of the Altare della Patria in Rome, which holds the remains of the Unknown Soldier. 

This is also the first foreign visit for the Queen and the Duke in three years, so that’s something to celebrate as well!
The Queen in Rome, on the 1961 visit, with the famous Capitoline Wolf bronze sculpture.
The Queen is Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Republic, the senior order of knighthood of the Italian Republic.
Again from the 1961 tour, the Queen in Turin with industrialist Giovanni Agnelli, head of automotive company Fiat.
In 1961, HM and Prince Philip stayed for four days, and made quite an extensive tour, visiting Naples, Venice, Florence, Turin and Rome, where they also went to the Holy See for an audience with Pope John XXIII.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh meeting Pope John XXIII (the Queen is wearing what appears to be Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik tiara)
Another 4-day visit followed in 1980, this time with stops in Genoa, Naples and Pompeii, Palermo, plus, again, Rome and the Vatican, where the royal couple met Pope John Paul II.
The Queen and Prince Philip meeting Pope John Paul II in 1980 (HM wears the Grand Duchess Vladimir tiara, set with pearls).

A shorter, 3-day visit in October 2000, to Milan and Rome, where the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh again had a chance to have an audience with Pope John Paul II.
The Royal couple arriving at the Apostolic Palace ahead of their audience with Pope John Paul II in 2000 (you can see the Queen - in less formal attire than on the previous two visits - wearing the impressively large Richmond brooch with pearl pendant, a present from the town of Richmond to her grandmother, Queen Mary).
The Queen is officially received by the then President of the Italian Republic, Mr Ciampi, at the beginning of her 2000 visit and, below, looking out across the Roman Forum from the Capitoline Hill terrace in the company of Rome's mayor, Mr Rutelli.
Not strictly related to the upcoming Rome visit, but I love this photo of the Queen toasting former Italian President of the Republic, Mr Ciampi, when he paid a State visit to the UK in March 2005.
The Queen was due to visit Rome again in March last year but, as some of you may remember, she was unfortunately taken ill with a stomach bug and the trip had to be postponed.
The Queen with President and Mrs Napolitano, whom she'll meet again on Thursday.
So, here we are now, awaiting this new - albeit brief - royal visit!
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will meet the President of the Republic, Mr Napolitano, and Pope Francis. He is the fourth Pope the Queen has met during her reign (she met Pope Benedict XVI in Scotland, when he paid a visit in Septemebr 2010).
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh receiving Pope Benedict XVI at the Palace of Holyroodhouse during the Pope's State visit to Scotland in 2010.

In an extraordinary break with tradition, Pope Francis will not receive the royal couple at the papal State apartments, inside the Apostolic Palace, preferring instead to opt for the less formal surroundings of Domus Sanctae Marthae, where the Pope’s private apartment is located.
So, of course, whether the Queen will still wear all black, as Vatican protocol dictates, or not, is a matter for debate. I’m rather curious to see if there’ll be a change of clothes, and also what outfit the Queen will choose for this visit!
I’ll keep you posted as soon as updates are available on Thrusday!