This Wednesday, July 20, Charlene of Monaco paid a discreet visit to Pope Francis, who received her at the Vatican. In 2016, the princess had already had the honor of meeting the Argentinean churchman. That year, a rare “privilege” was granted to her, as recalled by our confreres of People.
Only seven women in the world are entitled to this honor. Charlene of Monaco, who caused a sensation at the traditional Red Cross gala, was recently spotted in Rome. This Wednesday, July 20, the wife of Prince Albert was expected in the apartments of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, where she was invited once again by Pope Francis. If the meeting took place behind closed doors, the arrival of the Monegasque couple was immortalized by photographers. For this appointment, the mother of the twins Jacques and Gabriella bet on a very sober outfit, dressed in a classic black dress and a matching mantilla. If wearing black is part of the protocol obligations for any woman being received by Pope Francis, it is however well dressed in white that Charlene of Monaco had met him in 2016.
That year, the former professional swimmer had not committed any fault. On the contrary. The one who converted to Catholicism only a few months before her marriage to Prince Albert is one of the seven women to benefit from the “privilege of white”, in other words, the possibility of wearing white clothes during his meeting with the head of the Catholic Church, recalled People. This rule applies “only to designated Catholic queens and princesses and is generally reserved for important events at the Vatican such as private audiences, canonizations, beatifications and special masses,” said our American colleagues. All other women set to meet with Pope Francis, meanwhile, must sport a long black dress, along with a matching mantilla or lace veil that covers their heads.
Who are the other women who have this privilege?
Besides Charlene of Monaco, six other women are allowed to wear white during their audience with the religious leader. This is the case of Queen Sofia of Spain, Queen Paola of Belgium, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Queen Letizia of Spain and finally Princess Marina of Naples. As the People website was careful to point out, this tradition does not extend to the wives of non-royal Catholic heads of state, nor to the Catholic wives of non-royal monarchs. The latter must therefore be content to wear black during their meeting with Pope Francis. This is a protocol that must be taken seriously to avoid controversy, as was the case with Cherie Blair in 2006.
Photo credits: SIPA