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100 years ago: Royal visit to the Vatican

24 March 2023

March 23rd, 1923.

THE King and Queen are to visit their cousins of Italy, and in the course of their stay in Italy to visit also the Pope, with all the delicate etiquette of progress from stage to stage that is necessary when sovereigns set out from the Quirinal intending at last to reach the Vatican. An esteemed contemporary says that the proposed visit is causing deep distress among thousands of his Majesty’s loyal subjects. But their grief seems to be locked in their breasts, for little sign of it appears. Most persons will think it very proper and courteous that one who numbers many millions of Roman Catholic subjects should visit their chief pastor, and that a sovereign should visit another sovereign, though of a kingdom now very narrowly limited. Our contemporary thinks that it is incumbent upon “a Protestant country” not to give any sort of recognition to the Pope’s claim to temporal sovereignty. The question whether the Italian Government recognizes the Pope as a temporal sovereign is still academically debated, but the intention of the Law of Guarantees seems sufficiently clear, and it is the basis of an etiquette which has already been observed by many members of our Royal House who, finding themselves in Rome, have visited the Vatican.

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