Princess Charlene and Prince Albert visit the Vatican

Princess Charlene and Prince Albert visit the Vatican

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene visited the Vatican yesterday, January 18, for an audience with Pope Francis as part of a formal visit between Monaco and Vatican City.

Albert and Charlene chatted with the Pope for about 20 minutes. According to sources (via the Daily Mail), Albert shared photographs and information about the techniques used at his 125-acre summer residence Roc Agel, which is located high on the slopes of Mont Agel on the border between France and Monaco, and Pope Francis was interested in implementing Albert’s ideas at the gardens of his summer residence, the Papal Palace in Castel Gandolfo, about 22 miles south-east of Rome.

Albert created the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation in June 2006 “to address the concerns and threats to the environment of our planet” and “works to protect the environment and promote sustainable development on a global scale. The Foundation supports initiatives of public and private organizations in the areas of research, technological innovation, and practices aware of social issues.”

At the end of the visit, they exchanged gifts. Albert gave the Pope a basket of fruit and vegetables and a basket of cheese. As well as a copy of a special edition, printed in Monaco, of the papal encyclical, which stresses people’s duty to save the Earth’s environment. Charlene received a gift as well.

Charlene wore head-knee white: white coat, white dress, white gloves, and a white lace mantilla. She finished the look with nude shoes and a white clutch.

Typically, women are asked to wear a long black dress and black mantilla during an audience with the Pope. However, certain Catholic Queens and Princesses are exempt from this dress code under le privilège du blanc (“the privilege of the white”); these women are allowed to wear a white dress and white mantilla.

Those who are typically granted le privilège du blanc are: The Queen of Italy, the Queen of Belgium, the Queen of Spain, the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, and the princesses of the House of Savoy.

There are currently seven women who are accorded le privilège du blanc: Queen Sofia of Spain, Queen Paola of Belgium, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Queen Letizia of Spain, Princess Marina of Naples, and Princess Charlene of Monaco.

Typically, the wife of the Prince of Monaco is not accorded le privilège du blanc, but Charlene was accorded the privilege in 2013.

That’s why Charlene wore white yesterday, why Mathilde wore white on March 9, 2015, and why Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine wore black on April 27, 2015. Charlene and Mathilde have le privilège du blanc, and Silvia and Madeleine do not.

BTW, when Queen Elizabeth II visited the Vatican in April 2014, she wore purple. Liz used to wear the proper black dress code back in the day, but apparently she gives no effs since at least 2010.

[QEII with Pope Francis in 2014 on the left, and with Pope John Paul II in 2000 on the right]

Anyway, back to Albert and Charlene:

And the award for most awkward photo goes to:

Here’s a video of Albert and Charlene arriving and leaving:

Additional Link: Express.

79 thoughts on “Princess Charlene and Prince Albert visit the Vatican

  1. Good for Queen Elizabeth for giving no effs! Maybe she doesn’t like this pope as much. In the picture where she is wearing purple, the pope looks a little dubious. Lol

    1. Patricia, may I ask why it is “good for Queen Elizabeth for giving no effs” in your opinion? I myself was shocked that she didn’t follow the protocol. 1. She is a monarch and expects others to follow her protocol, too. And 2. The pope is the head of the catholic church and this is a question of respect even if she is not catholic. I have no problem with Maddie dressing Leonore in white for the audience bc she is still an infant, but the Queen? She should respect the rules of the Vatican.

      You could really see that Charlene was moved. Meeting the pope must be so emotional and a great honour. At first I thought that she only converted bc she had to prior to the wedding, but I think she really is into Catholicism now which I appreciate.

      As a catholic myself, I have to say that I thought Queen Elizabeths outfit inappropriate and respectless0, but charlenes was very good for the occasion.

      1. Not everyone holds the same religious beliefs that others do. I know I brought up QEIIs wardrobe in my article but I probably shouldn’t have given this.

        I ask that we please leave the discussion of personal religious beliefs off the blog in the interest of not causing arguments and having feelings hurt. Thank you.

        1. I’m sorry, I didn’t want to start a general big debate about religion. I was just irritatet by Patricia’s 1st sentence. To me, it sounded like “good that QE dind’t pay respect to the pope” which I found sounded offensive or provocative to me.

          (I don’t want to sound like an annoying school girl making nasty remarks now, but I think that criticizing the queens inappropriate outfit (In my opinion of course) should be ok because Kate for example is also criticized for wearing black to see children, pink to the 9/11 memorial or looking not somber enough at remembrance day and stuff…)

          I just wanted to explain why I posted that, but I won’t comment on religion anymore 🙂

          1. It’s okay, M.

            Patricia was quoting me with her first sentence. I said in my article that, “Liz used to wear the proper black dress code back in the day, but apparently she gives no effs since at least 2010.”

            I probably shouldn’t have said that, or brought up QEII in the first place.

            I understand where you were coming from in your original comment, but I thought it might cause a ruckus and I wanted to nip that in the bud to prevent tempers from flaring, arguments ensuing, and people’s feelings getting hurt (including yours).

            Religion is a tricky subject since people hold very strong opinions and not everyone believes the same thing. Thank you for being understanding that I don’t want to cause a ruckus on the blog. I hope everyone else is as well.

            Have a great day, M.

      2. I’m not Catholic, but I think this new Pope is a humble and wonderful man. I think he will respect HM’ s commitment to her job over a lifetime including her role as Head of the Church of England. I honestly don’t believe he cares two hoots about what colour she wears. Opinions differ but I think he would be honoured for her to visit him, just as she would be honoured to visit the Vatican.

        1. Birdy & Ray, I have to join you in my respect for Pope Francis. I’m not a catholic either and there are not many public personalities (still alive might I add) for whom I honestly feel admiration, and Pope Francis is one of them. This Pope is an innovator and an inspiring man.
          I can totally understand anyone meeting him to be moved independent of one’s religion.

      3. I just googled the dress code. The Queens visit was described as an ‘informal visit’ thus the dress code was not required as it only relates to formal visits. Thought that might be of interest to people.

        1. That’s really interesting, Birdy, thank you for that information. So it’s not that QEII “gives no effs” about the dress code, it’s that there wasn’t one. Good to know.

        2. The informal vs. formal visit consideration makes a lot more sense. The Queen doing what could amount to thumbing her nose at a religious leader and a fellow monarch (he does, after all, rule a country) would have been so completely uncharacteristic of her.

    2. Why is wearing lavender instead of black a good thing when her status is rife with protocol? It seems so out of character for her Maj to not follow it.

      What is the value, BTW, of not following protocol? Does this make her a bad*ss or something? And if so, that’s a good thing?

      The fact is, heads of various religions show respect for each other, so I’m not quite getting this.

  2. For someone with le privilège du blanc, it’s a shame Charlene did not choose a more complementary ensemble – to me, it looks like she has paired a white doctor’s coat with her white lace mantilla. But I do think her visage (make-up) looks nice. Must be so hard to be in the public eye and have all those ‘awkward’ photos beamed around the world.

    1. I’ve posted photos of Kate with awkward faces, so it’s only fair I post one of other royals. But yeah, those photographers can capture the randomest moment and what was not even a second in motion is now an awkward photo forever.

  3. I think HM was advised that as Head of the Church of England she didn’t need to follow the catholic dress code.

    I think Charlene looks almost ethereal – except in the one bad photo – and I understand she has really embraced Catholicism. I respect her for that although not a Catholic myself, that she didn’t just convert for PR purposes.

  4. Hello !

    Me again… I’ll try to comment a little more as I often make remarks for my self, which is not very constructive, isn’t it ?

    Like Birdy, I thnik that Charlene really believes in God : maybe she was already when protestant and just continues as catholic ? Of course they are several differences but she is a christian after all.
    And paying respect to the pope is not only a catholic thing, because he is a very worthy (not sure of the word) person ! She could like him and respect him even if she didn’t agree a 100% with all the catholics dogms.

    However, I thnik that the privilège du blanc is a little old fashioned now… Everybody should dress as she likes, if it is respectfull of the place or the person, but that is the case for each visit. I find QEII very elegant in black, but purple was not out of case, and I don’t think that she wanted to outrage Pope Francis in doing that, she is too respectful of the diplomacy to do that…

    Back to Charlene ! I like the coat, but I would have chosen an other colour for the dress and shoes and bag : maybe light grey ?
    And I wouldn’t have worn such a bright colour on the lips, I think it’s a bit too much, although I really like it on other occasions !!

    Have a nice day !

    1. I agree, it is a bit old-fashioned… but then again, monarchies are practically the definition of old fashioned!

      Are you living in France, French Girl? I am, so I was wondering 🙂

      1. I think there is a difference between tradition and old fashioned – we all love some of the old traditions, but equally there needs to be a balance of modernising too. I like the white/black theme, but appreciate that is only my personal opinion.

  5. Charlene looks beautiful, but I’m not fond of the red lip. I really do like her and Albert. Despite his issues with his illegitimate children he seems like mostly a really decent man who does his job and is a good father and husband. Charlene with those babies just gives me baby fever; she seems to glow now that she has the twins.

    Just a random thought, I wonder what the church would think because weren’t the twins IVF? Considering that’s not okay in the Catholic Church. Not as if that stops people from a lot of things, like birth control.

    1. Did they actually admit to using IVF? I know we assume, but I don’t remember it being officially verified.

      Maybe they just used fertility drugs.

      1. Yeah, I just read fertility drugs or IVF–either/or, not acceptable to the church, but most Catholics I know don’t follow the rules except a few friends who are very traditional and head to Latin Mass.

        1. The Church says fertility drugs are ok – with the caveat that they do not condone termination if it results in too many embryos.

          Man, I haven’t talked about this stuff in ages! I’m not practicing, but some in my family are serious Catholics and I studied Church law and theology at university level.

          1. Goodnes what an intelligent group of people KMR followers are, which is why the debates when good natured are so interesting on such a wide variety of topics!

          2. Liz B, that is incredibly interesting. My daughter is an IVF baby and was baptised in the Catholic Church. Hubby’s family is Catholic, I did not know about the drugs or the IVF. Can you please tell me if they are against the IVF? Is it because that it is not natural? This is very very interesting to me.

            Thanks in advance!

          3. Thank you so much Liz B. We were unaware of this but still would have gone through it anyway to get our little one.

            Hubby’s Great Aunt is a Nun and when I was pregnant the entire covenant prayed for us throughout the pregnancy which was lovely.

          4. @Tanya S
            It must have been exhausting going through the IVF treatment, I have a friend who went through it in Perth (4 years to finally get her precious son). I think it’s lovely that your husband’s Great Aunt and the other nuns at the convent prayed for you.
            A baby is a blessing and I think that having Nuns praying for you and her makes her even more precious.

          5. Wow Cathy, I feel for your friend. We had been on the fertility drugs years before and then had a break after horrible side effects and family members becoming ill.

            We were incredibly lucky that we only had one IVF round and we had our little girl. It was even more special as she was “Implanted” the day before my 40th and the Dr sang, “Happy Birthday” to me as he was going about his business LOL

            We were very blessed with the Nuns praying for us. I have friends who have been doing IVF for years without any success ( For their second child) and my heart breaks for them and any other couples who struggle with infertility. It is horrible and I would not wish it upon my worst enemy.

    2. how and where did this rumour of IVF come from???? goodness me, hes only 56 years, he can make babies the natural way, noone knows whats goes on in their bedroom, I think most people cant just accept, that this marriage isnt falling apart, its actually going strong, they look happy and comfortable in each others skin!!!

  6. What a lovely visit. I do appreciate the tradition involved in a papal visit. IMHO, I can’t really be too upset as there are traditions that are interwoven into the various royal houses. I always find the gift giving interesting. You want to show kindness yet not be ostentatious. And Pope Francis is of the Franciscan order, so lavish gifts aren’t received well either.

    I think Charlene looked beautiful. I’m sure it’s difficult to balance one’s sense of style along with respectful attire. She really nailed it. As far as the picture, I’m so glad that I don’t have photographers around me. I would be the gift that keeps giving.

    Beautiful post, KMR. Might I add thanks for the explanation as who wears le privilege du blanc.

    1. “As far as the picture, I’m so glad that I don’t have photographers around me. I would be the gift that keeps giving.”

      ME TOO. I realized I must have an animated face, because 90% of pics of me are just… a little off, to put it nicely lol

      1. It doesn’t help that I have RBF (resting b* face). I can look pretty stern and serious without a second thought. I have to be aware of that when out and about.

        1. Wow, Rhiannon, I cannot imagine you with rbf. To me, thanks to your funny and very on-target comments, I see a warm, wise, witty woman! Someone who must love life to the fullest. That is how I picture you!
          I am sure Harry will be bowled over!

          1. You are so sweet. I have to work on it. When I used to be manager, I kept a mirror hidden away at my desk. If I caught myself using RBF, I would smile or change my posture.

          2. Excellent way to combat RBF. I smell an article here!
            “10 Ways To Combat RBF” Now, you just need to come up with a few more.
            Lauri will be pleased by your posture tip. Excellent, may I add?

        2. That is why I love Charlene’s very gentle smile it avoids the possibility of rbf. You need to practice if you are going to become the most photographed woman in the world.

        3. rhiannon,

          I don’t think there is any such thing as RBF- at most I think maybe you look serious. RBF sounds horrid and harsh, an accusation, and an excuse for those who really are miseries. Kate, for example, is the epitome of ennui. If you look at younger pictures, her ‘resting’ face is not that different from anyone else’s. Unlike now.

        1. He definitely is. I know that perspectives on his theology and his actions within the church vary widely, but it’s impossible to deny that he’s admirably modest in his lifestyle.

    2. I am not photogenic. I cannot count the times I’ve been told that I look better in person than in a picture. Many times in school, I had to have pictures done again on picture make-up day. Once, my own mother didn’t recognized me in a photograph! She asked, “Who is that woman sitting with (insert hubby’s name)?”

      I would love to have the platform and the perks of royalty, but being photographed – not so much.

        1. Thanks, Maven! I’m fine in person, but I freeze around cameras. I’ve even had 2 different Department of Motor Vehicles clerks ask me to hold still for a do-over for my driver license. And this is the year I need to renew my passport. Ugh.

          1. Oh don’t even get me started on passport photos!! I hate it when the immigration officials do a double take – is that really you?? I’m not photogenic at all.

          2. My Mum has a friend who gets a portrait photographer (at huge expense) to do her passport and ID photos. She reckons it’s the best way to make sure of a good one!

  7. She actually cuts a very elegant visage in the all-white ensemble with a daring splash of bold red lip color. I really like it. However, I wonder how happy she is or whether that is just her serious face.

    1. I think as a devout Catholic it would be a very moving experience for her, and not a time for Kate like silly grins. I think she does tend always to have a gentle smile rather than a toothy grin anyway.

      1. I’ll second Birdy on this. I was lucky enough to be at the U.S. Capitol when the Pope was in the United States and many people were moved to tears or were trying not to cry. It’s an emotional experience for many. She also might have just been respecting the gravity and importance of the meeting by not making cartoon expressions.

    2. and we all thought kate was the happier one, since she went on for years grinning her heart out, look at her know, shes got a resting bitch face, not a happy marriage, looks can be deceiving!!!

  8. I really like Albert and Charlene. I thought Charlene looked appropriate for her visit. I’m sure she considers it an honor wear le privilège du blanc.

    As for HM”s purple v. black, she may have had other visits that day and didn’t want to change. I do love that photo of her with Pope John Paul, she looks so happy and I swear that woman can wear almost any color and look good in it.

    I wonder if Albert and Charles ever talk about conservation and their gardens. I imagine they’d have quite the conversation.

    I really liked the gift they brought the Pope, I thought it was well thought out. It wasn’t some trinket or something he couldn’t use and he can think of them when he eats it!

    Charlene’s crazy face is actually kind of cute because it’s so funny. One thing we can tell is that she isn’t botoxed to the hills by the lines in her forehead. Good for you Charlene!

    1. I liked the gifts too: thoughtful and meaningful, and not ostentatious.

      Charlene looked lovely; I thought she looked serene rather than sad.

      1. I think meeting the Pope would be an overwhelming experience for anyone. I can see why some would be moved to tears. Charlene’s facial expressions were very appropriate and she looked lovely. There are so many times of late when we see her smiles and enjoyment of the twins. I don’t particularly think of her lately as a sad person. I think she is very happy and enjoys life with her family.

        The gift Albert presented to the Holy Father was most appropriate and I am certain it was most appreciated.

        Lovely post, KMR. Even, the unfortunate photo of Charlene. If she can look bad in a photo, then there’s hope for the rest of us!

      2. I think I remember reading something about Charlene being a devote catholic. I read she is grateful for the children and (I am reading into this) feels there is a connection between her religion and being blessed with their son and daughter.

  9. Charlene looks stunning and so very appropriate for this visit. I don’t know if I’m loving the bright red lips though, as much as I do enjoy a pop of color I don’t know if this shade is the best one for her.

    I have to ask, why when Charlene wears a simple outfit such as this she looks sleek and elegant but when Kate wears a simple outfit she looks boring and dowdy? Is it the hair? or the lipstick? or the posture? I really can’t quite put my finger on it.

    1. i think it’s a combination of the style of clothing, the cut, the tailoring and how the person wearing them carries themselves. Charlene stands tall and proud and Kate slouches and crotch clutches along. She makes herself look dowdy by shrinking away. It doesn’t help any that her styles of late have been fairly dowdy. I’m sure that HM would have been fine with what Kate wore as long as she didn’t have skirt fly-up issues. She could have easily avoided those with weighted hems and underwear.

      1. Perfect comment! “Kate slouches and crotch clutches along” – I laughed until I cried. I totally agree with your point of view.

        IMHO, Kate’s dowdy clothes are a result of all the fly-ups. If she had avoided them, she would have avoided having a “minder,” and her winning style of her first married year would have continued.

    2. Lauri you pulled the words out of my mouth regarding Kate as I was going to add the same observation in my previous post. I am at a total loss myself. I think its a sum of all parts (hair, posture, tailoring, makeup, shoes) plus my own belief that some people are just born with an air of elegance and sophistication no matter what they wear. Unfortunately, Kate is handicapped in both. She doesn’t exude any confidence (what do you expect from an underachiever), and quite frankly, I find her devoid of any charm. She’s a phony. Bundle all these up and you have a Cardboard Kate.

    3. It’s her overall demeanor. Her lack of presence! I think, sadly, that she is very insecure. The pressure from Carole must have been enormous throughout so much of her youth. She definitely does not have her Mum’s personality and I doubt that she bucked Carole very much. Just did what she was told and tried to please her, please her, please her. Now, it’s please him (PW), him, him!

      I had a college professor in the drama dept, who was an amazing teacher and actress. She was really very plain facially, but her figure, her posture, her overall presence were amazing. In jeans and turtlenecks, she would make the most well-dressed of women look like slouches. She just had “it.” “It” is not always easy to define. We know “it,” when we see “it.” Kate, imo, does not have “it.” Still, she needs some advice on how to carry herself better and how to relax and try to make those she meets feel special when greeting them. As someone posted a long while back, “Kate does not wear her clothes, they wear her.” Her discomfort level being in public is very, very obvious. Sad, but true.

      1. That’s it, Jenny—Presence and “It”! I was grasping for that word. Kate just doesn’t have it. I remember reading an article years ago when New York fashion designers gave the opinion that Kate is someone who will blend in the crowd at any NY sidewalk because nothing about her stands out.

        1. We all aspire to “it.” It is what we want!

          My grandmother used to talk about an actress in old Hollywood who was called The It Girl. I need to google that and find out who she was I forget her actual name, just that she apparently had It.
          Just googled and came up with Janet Gaynor. She was one of many It Girls. Clara Bow, being the first. I think Grandmother was referring to Gaynor, though.

          1. IIRC, Clara Bow was the original “It” girl and the only one so named. It meant she was tremendously vivacious, I think. Janet Gaynor was also vivacious (I love old movies).

      2. I don’t think Sophie has a huge presence, but she has learned to work with what she has. She changed her style, put in the hours, done her homework, says a few words and appears sincere when she speaks with people.

        Sometimes I wonder if Kate is overwhelmed and has stopped trying or she feels the Duchess title (along with having a prince for a husband) is enough to carry her during events.

        Try a few baby steps Kate. You saw PG learn to walk and followed it with having the confidence to run. Kate can learn and improve. Why don’t we see it? I do think many of us want Kate to shine

  10. Argh! Something about Charlene screams “tragedy” to me. She looks heavily medicated in those photos. I worry about her. Anyway I don’t like the way her dress shows underneath her coat hem. The coat doesn’t appear to have any way of closing and she does lots of grasping to keep it together. She looks like she is wearing tons of pancake makeup and the red lip is weird and inappropriate. Is she sending some type of subliminal message? Blood or violence, idk. Normally I love her look and especially her short hair but this is not doing it for me.

  11. I admire Charlene work ethic & style! Charlene is far from perfect, but does a great job with her charities! No flashing, no strange faces, no immature behavior, no weak excuses, no isolation for herself, the children & Albert! Princess Charlene of Monaco is only 4 years older than K.M. but kilometer ahead of lazy waity! I hope Adam reads this post & comments?

  12. I would love to meet Pope Francis! it would be such an honour as I have a huge amount of respect for him and the work he has done. It must have been strange stepping into this role with the last Pope still living. But if I did get to meet him I’d be so nervous that I doubt I would be able to string a sentence together 🙁
    It’s a big honour for Charlene to be given the right to wear white so she’s making an impression 🙂
    I think they all look good in the photos, even the unfortunate one at the end! 🙂
    (BTW – has Albert lost some weight?)

  13. charlene looked perfect!!!!!! demure, elegant, poised, and no flashing of her lady bits, this woman does her job very well!!

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