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 CNS Story:

POPE-CHARLES Apr-27-2009 (350 words) With photo. xxxi

Pope meets Britain's Prince Charles, duchess of Cornwall

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- On a European tour to promote ecological initiatives, Britain's Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, met April 27 with Pope Benedict XVI.

The three spent 15 minutes speaking privately before the prince introduced members of his entourage and exchanged gifts with Pope Benedict.

The pope gave the prince a set of medals marking the just-entered fifth year of his pontificate and an etching of St. Peter's Basilica from the 1500s.

Presenting his gift to the pope, Prince Charles said, "I don't know that these will be of any help to you."

The gift was a set of 12 dessert plates with paintings of flowers grown at his Highgrove Estate. The plates are part of a collection of items the prince sells at his Highgrove shop to raise money for charity.

"Thank you very much," the pope said after receiving the plates.

The prince and the duchess of Cornwall also gave the pope an autographed photo of themselves.

The 60-year-old prince was dressed in a dark blue, double-breasted suit while his 61-year-old wife wore a black silk dress, pearls and a black veil.

Entering the papal library, Prince Charles pointed to a photographer traveling with him and told the pope that Arthur Edwards, the photographer for the tabloid Sun, is "a marvelous man. He's been following me for 35 years and is a Catholic."

Prince Charles, along with his first wife, the late Princess Diana, met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1985. He postponed his 2005 marriage to Camilla Parker-Bowles in order to attend Pope John Paul's funeral.

As Pope Benedict walked him out of the library April 27, Prince Charles was overheard to say, "Such a wonderful man; we miss him terribly."

In a statement issued after the meeting, the Vatican said, "The cordial discussions provided an opportunity for an exchange of views on certain questions of mutual interest, including the human promotion and development of peoples, environmental protection and the importance of intercultural and interreligious dialogue for furthering peace and justice in the world."

END


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