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Prince Charles Just Gave Pope Francis the Most Thoughtful Gift

Camilla dressed according to the Vatican's new, relaxed dressed code-and drew comparisons yet again to Lady Diana's papal audience.
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The only person harder to shop for than the Queen? Pope Francis.

On their royal visit to the Vatican, Prince Charles and Camilla found out first-hand, during their inaugural meeting with the Bishop of Rome. "It's difficult to know what to give your Holiness," Charles admitted while presenting Pope Francis with a basket of produce and jars of food from his Highgrove estate, which will eventually be given to the homeless, and framed photos of himself and Camilla.

"They're all homemade things I produce," the Prince said.

"It's very good," added Camilla.

In return, the pope—who appears to be something of a gift-giving pro—gave Prince Charles a bronze olive branch as a symbol of peace, and leather bound copies of the Pope's writings on climate change. A supremely thoughtful present, given his royal highness's interest in and concern about the environment.


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The meeting was notably more casual than Charles's previous papal audiences; Pope Francis has done away with traditional dress codes, and Camila wore gold and left her head uncovered.


When the couple visited Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, Camilla wore all black (as was previously custom for women), and donned the traditional veil, immediately prompting comparisons to Princess Diana, who accompanied Charles to audiences with Pope John Paul II in April of 1985.

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Of the change in protocol, a Vatican spokesman said: "Things have become more relaxed over the last few years; there are no hard and fast rules."

What was discussed during the audience was not made public, but after the meeting, the Pope told Charles, "Wherever you go, may you be a man of peace."

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To which Charles replied simply, "I'll do my best."

The visit was part of a larger tour of Europe by the Prince and Duchess of Cornwall; tomorrow, they head to Vienna.

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Caroline Hallemann
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