This morning, the Pope met Grand Duke of Luxembourg Henri Albert Gabriel Felix Marie Guillaume and his wife Grand Duchess Maria Teresa Mestre, who is Cuban by birth and was dressed in white, according to the ritual of the Catholic queens. For the first audience with Pope Francis, the grand-ducal couple brought all of their five children with their wives and husbands, as well as their three grandchildren, including little Amalia who is not even 2.year-old yet. At the end of the audience, the Pope came next to the little girl, kissed and greeted her while she was playing with the rosary she had been given as a gift.
When the Grand Dukes couple sat at a desk in front of the Pope, the Grand Duke said in French: “we are not used to such things”. It is unclear whether he referred to the flashing cameras or to the mingling of different languages, including French and Spanish. Once the doors of the library reopened and let in the suite, the latter was introduced to the Pope, the Grand Duke did it in French, whereas his wife in Spanish. Pope Bergoglio focused on greeting the grandchildren, Amalia and the two boys who are around seven years. At the time of the exchange of gifts, the Luxembourg royal family has offered a picture of herself, her parents and adult children, no grandchildren, with a dedication in Spanish: “To our Holy Father Francis, with respectful and filial affection of our whole family”.
Pope Bergoglio, in his turn, gave a medal of the pontificate and a copy of Evangelii Gaudium and another one of Praised be. Those who were present were given rosaries. Pope Francis then blessed the whole family and asked to pray for him. “We will, Holy Father, count on us” the Grand Duchess assured in French, while the Grand Duke, taking his leave, expressed gratitude to the Pope “for everything you have done for the Church and for the whole world,” he said. After the audience with the Pope, the Luxembourg royal family visited the Basilica of St. Peter.