On Monday, the Pope received Queen Silvia, who was accompanied by Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill and their daughter Princess Leonore, in audience in the Apostolic Palace. The Queen and Princess Madeleine are in Rome to attend a conference on trafficking, a cause they have both been closely involved with and which Pope Francis singled out for attention in his New Year address.
This was Princess Leonore's first major public appearance, and the photos of Queen Silvia seated with her granddaughter, who clutches the Pope's finger, reminds one of the photo of Princess Madeleine at the age of seven, standing on her toes as she is kissed on the head by Pope John Paul II, a photo Queen Silvia keeps on her desk.
Interestingly, Queen Silvia chose to abide with the dress code for papal audiences that stipulates a long black dress and veil for women other than the Catholic wives of Catholic kings, who wear white, although other Protestant queens have abandoned it in recent years. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark wore a grey day dress and hat for an audience with Pope Benedict XVI in 2006, while Queen Elizabeth II of Britain wore a mauve day dress and hat when she and Prince Philip were received by Pope Francis a year ago.
Chris O'Neill rarely accompanies his wife to official events that are not family events, but in this case his presence was clearly due to the fact that he is a Catholic. Queen Silvia, who was born in Germany to a German father and Brazilian mother and raised in Brazil, is a Lutheran and has always been so. Her Brazilian mother's funeral was held in a Lutheran church in Heidelberg, Germany, which suggests that her mother was also a Protestant.
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