Uploaded April 5, 2014
Two of the world's best-known public figures, Pope Francis and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, met for the first time Thursday in Rome.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday, April 3. Over the years, she has also met many of his papal predecessors.

The private audience with Pope Francis was the first meeting between the 87-year-old queen, who is Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church.

According to Vatican Radio, Thursday's audience marked the queen's seventh encounter with a pontiff and the fifth different pope she has met. Besides trips to Rome, she also welcomed Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus, on their respective visits to Britain.

Her first papal encounter was with Pope Pius in 1951, the year before she ascended the throne, the broadcaster said.

Britain's ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker, told Vatican Radio the Queen had decided to take advantage of the rescheduled trip to meet Pope Francis.

"If you look back in terms of Queen Elizabeth's reign, it is extraordinary how far the relationship between Britain and the Holy See, and between the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church, has developed since 1952 when she became queen," he said.

A key aspect of that has been her several encounters with different popes over the years, Baker said.
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  • Marie-Estelle McCrimmon
    Marie-Estelle McCrimmon The Catholic News Service posted a lovely short video of their visit on YouTube, with Pope Francis saying to Queen Elizabeth II as they said goodbye: "Pray for me." http://youtu.be/LRrbhOMRIB0
    April 5, 2014 - 1 likes this