Not even an injured knee could keep Belgium's Queen Mathilde from having the honor of meeting Pope Francis. The 42-year-old ventured to the Vatican with husband King Philippe to have a private audience with His Holiness on March 9, 2015.
Considered one of the highest honors, the couple followed certain protocol like wearing white and exchanging gifts. This tradition has been followed by not just this royal couple, but many before them. Just this past June, Spain's King Felipe and Queen Letizia had a private audience and his parents King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia did the same in April.
But this historic meeting isn't just a modern day occurrence. The Pope has been greeting members of royal families for decades, especially before the division of church and state. While royal families and the Vatican may not be as connected, it hasn't stopped these major powers from meeting with the Pope both at the Vatican and the home countries of these monarchs.
In honor of these meetings, HELLO! takes a look back at some of the more recent papal and royal unions - from Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict to the most recent pontiff - Pope Francis.