Queen Elizabeth (C) and Prince Philip (L) present gifts to Pope Francis during their meeting at the Vatican. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Queen Elizabeth met Pope Francis for the first time on
Thursday and gave a bemused pontiff culinary delights from
the royal estates, including a dozen eggs and a bottle of
"I've also brought something from all our estates, which is
for you personally," said the Queen, wearing a lavender dress
and a purple hat, as she handed Francis a wicker basket full
of food at the end of a 17-minute private meeting in the
The 18 items from Buckingham Palace, Windsor, Sandringham and
Balmoral also included two types of honey, "Coronation Best
Bitter," "Grandad's chutney" and "Sandringham handmade
A Vatican official said the Pope would likely share the food
with other residents of the guest house where he has lived
since his election after renouncing the spacious papal
apartments or would donate it.
The Queen and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, met the
Pope in a modern room attached to the Vatican's audience hall
without much of the ceremonial pomp that usually accompanies
A Vatican statement did not say what the two discussed. The
Queen is also the Supreme Governor of the Church of England,
which split from Rome in 1534.
The Pope is Argentine and Britain went to war with Argentina
over the Falkland Islands, which Argentina calls the
Malvinas, in 1982.
To cut short any speculation that the two might have
discussed the Falklands, the British embassy reminded
reporters that while the Pope may be Argentine, the Vatican's
official position on the territorial dispute is a neutral
Francis also gave the Queen a gift for her eight-month-old
great-grandson, Prince George of Cambridge. It was a sphere
made of lapis lazuli, a deep blue semi-precious stone, topped
with the silver cross of St. Edward.
"He will be thrilled by it," the Queen told the Pope. Then
she paused and added: "When he is a little older".