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Queen Elizabeth II meets Pope Francis for the first time on 3 April 2014 on a visit that coincides with the anniversary of the start of the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina. Previously, Elizabeth II had met with four Pontiffs, starting with Pius XII in 1951, a year before her accession to the throne. The queen has visited the Vatican twice during her reign, once to meet John XXIII in 1961 and again in 2000 to see John Paul II, and met Benedict XVI in Britain, during his Apostolic Visit in September 2010.

Pope Francis presented the Queen with a priceless gift for Prince George at the Vatican. The orb made from lapis lazuli semi-precious stone featuring a silver cross of St Edward the Confessor was given to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to pass on to her heir. This was accompanied by a manuscript dating back to 1679 proclaiming the saint day of Edward the Confessor. The Pope explained “it’s for the little boy” as he handed the gifts over. The ornament – made especially for the occasion – featured an inscription saying: “From Pope Francis to Prince George of Cambridge.” Prince Philip was delighted with his gift from the Pope – three gold medals bearing the Pontiff’s face. He joked: “That’s very kind of you, that’s the only gold medal I have ever won.” In a friendly exchange they presented two signed pictures of themselves in silver frames and a hamper of goodies from the Royal Estates.

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