Monday, February 27, 2006

GG Meets Mantilla.... and Pope

Michaƫlle Jean, the Governor-General of Canada, was received by the Pope this morning in private audience with her husband, the documentarian Jean-Daniel Lafond, and her six year-old daughter Marie-Eden.

I'm trying to recall the last time a dignitary brought a young child to a Vatican audience....

As it was a private visit, no public speeches were given, the Order of Canada was not worn, and Benedict XVI left his mozzetta and official bling behind.

But they still had the exchange of gifts.

Jean, a CBC journalist who began her tenure in the post representing Queen Elizabeth II as Canada's head of state last September, seemed to have (for today, at least) laid aside her known predilection for pantsuits, adhering to the traditional Vatican protocol which calls for women in skirts and mantillas, arms covered, etc.

Not that Benedict makes faces when dignitaries breach the longstanding rules -- he doesn't seem to care much about the customs, really -- but still....

SVILUPPO (10.40am): More from the wire:
Jean spoke French as well as Italian to the Pope during their 25-minute private meeting in Benedict's private library. Jean studied Italian in Montreal as well as in Italy.

As they sat down, the Governor General told the Pope she had heard he spoke 10 languages.

"Maybe three," he replied somewhat sheepishly.

PHOTOS: Alberto Pizzoli/POOL