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.