Royals Attend Double Canonisation at the Vatican

  April 27, 2014 at 9:38 am by

Catholic royals from across Europe were present at the canonisation of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II today at the Vatican.

King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain, former King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg and Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie Aglaë of Liechtenstein were amongst the million plus there for the mass, which was presided over by the current pontiff, Pope Francis. Others in attendance were the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI and Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

The Luxembourg contingent was also made up of Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Prince Louis and Prince Sebastien. Liechtenstein was also represented by Prince Nikolaus and Princess Margaretha, and two of their children, Anunciata and Josef. Three of the Catholic consorts – Sofia, Paola and Maria Teresa – followed Vatican protocol in wearing white, which is their right as consorts of specific Catholic sovereigns according to le privilège du blanc.

GALLERY: Photographs of the event from Getty Images

Today’s canonisation is the first double ceremony in centuries. The process of canonising both Popes has been fast-tracked, thanks mostly to the efforts of Pope John Paul II’s successors. Pope John XXIII’s campaign for sainthood was formalised in September 2000, when he was declared ‘Blessed’. Pope Francis removed the clause requiring two miracles for sainthood to be approved to allow John XXIII to be canonised. Almost immediately after Pope John Paul II’s death in April 2005, the campaign for his sainthood began. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, did away with the five-year waiting period after a person’s death to initiate a beautification, and John Paul was beautified in May 2011, alongside John XXIII.

Pope John XXII was the Head of the Catholic Church from 1958 to 1963. Pope John Paul II, arguably one of the most well-known and beloved Popes, was Pope between 1978 and 2005.

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