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Queen Elizabeth meets with Pope Francis at Vatican

  • Italy Britain Royals-1.jpg

    April 3, 2014: Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Philip arrives at Rome's Ciampino military airport to start their one-day visit to Italy and the Vatican. (AP)

  • Italy Britain Royals-2.jpg

    April 3, 2014: Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Rome's Ciampino military airport to start a one-day visit to Italy and the Vatican. (AP)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has paid a private call on Pope Francis at the Vatican, making him the fifth pontiff she has met.

She arrived Thursday afternoon wearing a lilac-colored spring coat and matching hat that are practically the same colors as the wisteria blooming over much of the Italian capital.  The monarch, accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, was ushered into a small room near the Vatican's public audience hall for the 30-minute meeting.

Previously, Elizabeth had met with four pontiffs, starting with Pius XII in 1951, a year before her accession to the throne.

Earlier in the day, Elizabeth lunched with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano at the Quirinal palace. Illness had forced her to cancel a 2013 trip to Rome when she was supposed to see Napolitano.