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European Royals Attended Pope's Inauguration

Roman Catholic European Royals attended the inauguration of the 266th Vicar of Christ, His Holiness, Pope Francis, last March 19, 2013 at the Vatican. Among those who attended were Their Majesties, King Albert II of Belgium and wife Queen Paola, Their Royal Highnesses, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and their son, Prince Felix, Their Serene Highnesses, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco, Their Royal Highnesses, Prince Felipe and Princess Letezia of Spain, Their Royal Highnesses Princess Sophie and Princess Margaretha of Liectenstein, the future King and Queen of the Netherlands, Prince Wilhelm-Alexander and Princess Maxima, an Argentinian who remained a Roman Catholic despite being married to a protestant heir to the Dutch throne, they came together with Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte.
Women in black. Princesses Maxima and Letezia attended the papal inauguration
with their spouces, Prince Wilhelm-Alexander and Prince Felipe
Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco

The inauguration also drew several dignitaries including heads of states and other VIPs. The united states was represented by Vice President, Joe Biden, a Roman Catholic, the Republic of the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country in Asia, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain was represented by his cousin, Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester and his wife, the Duchess of Gloucester.

Vatican protocol dictates that anyone who will be attending a papal audience should wear black so the Princesses, Maxima, Letezia, Charlene, Sophie and Margaretha wore striking black outfit with black lace mantilla covering their heads, except for the Duchess of Gloucester who stick with a traditional British royal custom of wearing a pill box instead of a mantilla. Wearing a mantilla (made of a lace fabric in any color) is a Roman Catholic tradition normally wore by women when attending a Holy Mass.

Over 200,000 pilgrims attended the inauguration ceremony at the St. Peter's square which marked the official start of the pontificate of the first Latin American Pope.

Pope Francis, whose name was taken from the 13th century Catholic saint, Francis of Assisi, stunned the public with his humble lifestyle exemplifying  gesture of humility and modesty. He sets the tone for a humbler papacy discarding the elegance and formality normally associated with the reigning Pope.

King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium
Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
Their Royal Highnesses, Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester and the Duchess of Gloucester

The Pope chose the name Francis to signify his intention for a poor church and a ministry serving the disadvantaged. Simplicity and humility are the noble characters that the Pope wants to highlight his leadership and the church's mission. He wanted to be close to the masses and urged the public to respond to the true Christian mission to take care of the poor, the disadvantaged,  the weakest, the least important and the environment.

The people's Pope. His Holiness, Pope Francis, the 266th Vicar of Christ

And like St. Francis who shunned family fortune to serve the church, Pope Francis turned down material things associated with grandeur, at his inauguration, he chose a papal ring made of silver instead of gold and chose to wear a simple white cassock without a red cape.

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