King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain visit the Pope in first overseas engagement

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain travelled to the Vatican City in Rome to attend a private audience with Pope Francis.

The visit marked the first overseas engagement that Felipe and Letizia had carried out since the king was proclaimed Spain's ruling monarch earlier this month.

Arriving on Monday morning, Felipe, 46, and Letizia, 41, were greeted by the prefect of the papal household Georg Gaenswein.



Queen Letizia and King Felipe VI of Spain

The ever graceful Letizia was given the privilege of wearing white to her meeting with the Catholic leader. She opted for a demure skirt and jacket ensemble and accessorised with her favourite nude wedges, a matching white clutch and classic pearl drop earrings.

The queen's outfit was in keeping with the official Vatican protocol known as "Privilege du blanc," whereby female Catholic monarchs and the wives of Catholic monarchs are permitted to wear white in an audience with the Pope.

Ordinarily it is formal Vatican protocol for papal audiences to wear black garments with long sleeves and women are required also to wear a black veil known as a mantilla.



King Felipe VI, Pope Francis and Queen Letizia of Spain have a private meeting

As they made their entrance, Felipe and Letizia, who had travelled with Spain's foreign affairs minister José Manuel García Margallo and his sub-secretary Cristóbal González-Aller, shook hands with members of the papal household and were escorted in.

Felipe and Letizia met with the Pope until noon local time, after which they attended a meeting with Secretary of the Vatican State Pietro Parolin before flying back to Madrid.



Queen Letizia was given the privilege of wearing white in keeping with Vatican protocol

This was not the first time that the Spanish royal couple had met Pope Francis. Felipe and Letizia were some of the esteemed guests who were invited to the leader's papal inauguration in March of last year, which also saw other royals such as King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands in attendance.

At the time, Pope Francis asked Felipe how his father King Juan Carlos was doing, as he had just had an operation. "He's getting better, little by little," said Felipe, as well as inviting the Pope to visit Spain.

The Vatican has recently revealed that the Argentine-born cardinal will make the trip in 2015, including a stop in Santiago de Compostela to commemorate the pilgrimage of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Newly crowned Felipe and Letizia, meanwhile, will also travel to France, Portugal and Morocco in the upcoming weeks on official state visits.

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