Vatican City, Apr 4 (AFP) Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla had a private audience with Pope Francis today as part of a tour designed to shore up Britain’s ties with the continent as it prepares to leave the European Union.
The brief meeting — just under half an hour at the Vatican — was the latest stop for the royal couple on a charm offensive that started in Romania last week and ends in Austria tomorrow.
It also follows a visit by Charles’s son Prince William and his wife Kate to Paris in March.
At the Vatican, Charles presented the 80-year-old pontiff with a collection of products from his Highgrove estate, where the prince indulges his passion for organic farming.
“It’s difficult to know what to give to your holiness,” he said.
“It may come in handy or somebody else might like it — it’s all homemade things I produced.”
Camilla then chipped in: “It’s very good.” The pope gave the couple a bronze of an olive branch, telling the prince, “Wherever you may go, may you be a man of peace.”
Charles replied: “I’ll do my best!”
The pope also gave them copies of the three major texts he has produced since becoming pope just over four years ago Laughing, Charles asked: “Are they in English?” When the pope confirmed they were, he added: “You are very generous — a great treat.”
The Italian leg of the royal tour has been widely seen as a success, with Charles praised in the Italian media for visiting earthquake-devastated Amatrice on Sunday and announcing plans for a food-related scheme to raise money for the victims.
Camilla also attracted favourable coverage for her various visits, including one without her husband to an NGO helping the victims of human trafficking.
She also won over the locals in Florence by recalling her childhood ties to the city, where the visit began with a sundown stroll over the Ponte Vecchio on Friday. (AFP) AQS
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.