The Princely Family of Liechtenstein met Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday, 22 April. Prince Hans-Adam II, Princess Marie, Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie were due to meet His Holiness, and over thirty members of the Princely Family unexpectedly joined them.
Some of the other members of the family who were in attendance included Princess Marie-Astrid, Princess Nora, Princess Angela, Prince Max, Prince Wenzel, Princess Margaretha and Prince Nikolaus.
The family also met His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, who is the under-secretary for Relations with States, and Msgr. Antoine Camilleri. In a press release by the Holy See, they explained discussions of bilateral ties and international efforts of Liechtenstein took place during the Saturday meeting.
They said, “During the cordial discussions the good bilateral relations between the Holy See and Liechtenstein were evoked, and the historic role of the Catholic Church and the positive contribution she continues to offer to the life of the country were recognised.
“Appreciation was then expressed for the Principality’s efforts in the international sphere, particularly in the protection of human rights.”
Even though certain Catholic queens and princesses are afforded Privilège du Blanc (or privilege of the white) when in an audience with the Pope, it does not extend to the Catholic rulers of Liechtenstein, and therefore, Princess Marie was in the traditional black like the other women in attendance. Technically, only Queen Sofía of Spain, Queen Paola of Belgium, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, Princess Charlene of Monaco (Princess of Monaco was not granted the honour until Charlene by Benedict XVI), Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Queen Letizia of Spain and Marina, Princess of Naples have the privilege.
It should be noted that Pope Francis has relaxed the strict dress code since he became His Holiness, as was seen when the Duchess of Cornwall (member of the Church of England) wore a pale gold dress with no veil over her hair to meet the Pope earlier this month. The Telegraph reported that a spokesman for the Vatican explained, “Things have become more relaxed over the last few years there are no hard and fast rules.”