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The Edinburghs

The Duchess of Edinburgh in Rome to pay homage to Italy’s former President

The Duchess of Edinburgh travelled to Rome to attend the State Funeral for former President Giorgio Napolitano. 

The royal was among the many foreign authorities that landed in the Italian Capital on Tuesday, 26th September, to take part in the non-religious service that took place in the main room of the lower House of the Italian Parliament. 

The Duchess was seen observing as the coffin of the former Head of State arrived for the service from the Senate, where it laid for public viewing since the day after Napolitano’s death. 

The commemoration ceremony was opened by speeches from the presidents of the two branches of Parliament, followed by family members and friends, which included former Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi. 

Giorgio Napolitano passed away aged 98 on Friday, 22nd September. He left behind his wife, Clio Bittoni, their two children, Giulio and Giovanni, and their two grandchildren, Sofia and Simone. 

He spent his whole life in politics and became President of the Republic (the official title for Italian Heads of State) in May of 2006. In April of 2013, given the political gridlock gripping Italy, he accepted to be elected for a second time, thus becoming the first President to achieve this result. His successor, President Sergio Mattarella, is in his second term. 

He resigned in 2015, at the age of 90, having completed only two out of the seven years of his second mandate.

Giorgio Napolitano was not the first Italian authority to receive a non-religious State Funeral, but he was the first one to receive a ceremony in the Hemicycle of the House of Deputies. Because of his proclaimed atheism, he will be buried in the acatholic cemetery in Rome. Despite this, his coffin was also visited by Pope Francis, who spent a few minutes praying in front of it during the lying in state. 

The Duchess of Edinburgh was joined by many other foreign dignitaries for the ceremony, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.