On a recent visit to meet the Pope, Princess Charlene of Monaco forwent her privilège du blanc and opted for a black outfit like non-Catholics who meet His Holiness.
The Prince and Princess of Monaco were in the Vatican for a private audience with Pope Francis on 20 July, but the Princess appeared in all black when she is one of the few women in the world allowed to wear white to meet the Pope.
The notoriously private Princely Palace has not revealed why Charlene did not use her privilège du blanc during the 25-minute audience.
The Princess of Monaco has used her privilège du blanc in the past, including a state visit to the Vatican in 2016 with Pope Francis and a private audience with former Pope Benedict XVI in 2013.
Charlene was the first Princess of Monaco to be given the privilege, and upon her private audience with His Holiness in 2013, the Princely Palace revealed that she had worn white “in accordance with prescribed ceremonial of the Vatican for Catholic Sovereigns.”
Certain spouses of Catholic monarchs are afforded the privilege of wearing white when meeting the Pope. Those with the honour include the Queens of Spain and Belgium. The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg and Princess of Monaco are also permitted to wear white, as are members of the House of Savoy.
While monarchs in Liechtenstein and Lesotho are Catholic, the privilege has not been extended to them. Catholic spouses of Protestant monarchs, like Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, are also not permitted to wear white.
It is not a requirement that a person with privilège du blanc wears white when meeting the Pope, and like Charlene, some have chosen to wear black instead in the past.