Queen gives Pope beer and whisky

The Queen met Pope Francis for the first time on Thursday delivering him a hamper filled with the Royal estates’ finest whisky and beer.

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The Vatican news service

The two figureheads spent almost 20 minutes in private conversation before posing for photographs and exchanging gifts, according to a report by the official Vatican News Service.

The Queen brought with her a hamper of specialities from each of the Royal estates including honey from the gardens of Buckingham Palace; venison, beef and some best bitter from Windsor Castle; cider, apple juice and a selection of chutneys from Sandringham and some shortbread and whisky from the Balmoral estate in Scotland.

Pope Francis gave a very personal gift of a blue, lapis lazuli orb, topped with a cross of St Edward the Confessor with a dedication around its based reading ‘Pope Francis to His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge’ for the Queen’s great grandson and third in line for the throne – eight-month-old Prince George.

The Queen was said to be “visibly delighted” with the gift commenting that he would be thrilled by it when he was older.

The Pope also presented the Queen with a replica of a decree from the Vatican archives, dating from 1679, by which Pope Innocent XI extended the veneration of St Edward the Confessor to the Universal Church, establishing his feast day on October 9th.

The private meeting was also attended by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, former archbishop of Westminster and the first Catholic bishop to preach for the Royal Family since the Church of England broke from Rome in the 16th century.

The Queen is also the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, which split from Rome in 1534, while the pope is Argentine – a country that Britain went to war with in 1982 over the Falkland Islands.

Reporters were reportedly reminded by the British embassy that the Vatican’s official position on the territorial dispute is a “neutral one” to prevent any speculation that the two leaders might have discussed the Falklands.

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