British heir to the throne, Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, meet with Pope Francis on Tuesday afternoon as part of their five day visit to Italy and the Holy See.
The Prince will also hold talks with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See Secretary of State, and the Vatican ‘foreign minister’ Archbishop Paul Gallagher, as well as with other Vatican officials at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Before the papal audience, the royal couple will be shown some of the rare documents contained in the Vatican library and secret archive..
The British heir to the throne began his Italian tour in the northern city of Vicenza, where he visited a Commonwealth cemetery, laying a wreath in memory of soldiers of different nationalities who died during the deployment of British forces to the Austrian front of the First World War one hundred years ago.
His wife, Camilla, meanwhile, spent the day in Naples, meeting with trafficked women and youngsters with learning difficulties at a former Mafia villa which was confiscated by the State. She also visited the ancient Roman town of Herculaneum which was destroyed by the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.
On Sunday Prince Charles toured the earthquake hit town of Amatrice in central Italy, walking amid the rubble and talking to some of the survivors of the quake that killed nearly 300 people and left thousands of others homeless.
The Duchess of Cornwall spent Sunday in Florence, visiting the Uffizi Gallery but also St Mark’s Anglican church in the city centre and revealing that her great-grandmother had lived in the city during the last years of her life.
The royal couple stayed in Florence on Monday, visiting the Caritas-run Casa San Paolino which cares for around 80 people, including single mothers with children, homeless immigrants and the elderly. They also toured an internationally renowned art restoration workshop and visited an organic food market with the founder of Italy’s Slow Food movement Carlo Petrini.
Later Prince Charles was presented with a Renaissance Man of the Year award, recognizing his achievements in the fields of philanthropy and the arts. In his acceptance speech, he highlighted the vital contribution of the UK and Italy to global peacekeeping, but also focused on the interdependence of human beings with the natural world.
The royal couple’s last engagements in Italy include a meeting with President Sergio Mattarella and an encounter at the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation. They fly on to Austria on Wednesday afternoon for the final leg of their nine-day European tour.