Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 27 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Simeon Sylites
home iconFor Her
line break icon

Only 7 women in the world can wear white to officially meet the Pope

AFP PHOTO | FILIPPO MONTEFORTE

Aleteia Brasil - published on 06/01/17

This is the traditional protocol of the "privilège du blanc."

President Donald Trump’s first visit to Pope Francis captured the world’s attention for various reasons, both because of their differences of perspective on sensitive issues and also because both Melania and Ivanka wore a black dress and veil to meet the Holy Father.

The Holy See does not impose a compulsory dress code, but does suggest a protocol for state visits and hearings with the Pope, both for men and women.

In the case of the latter, the protocol requires a long black dress with a high neckline, long sleeves, and a black veil. For historical reasons, however, some Catholic queens or consorts of kings have traditionally been exempted from using black. This is the so-called “privilège du blanc” (privilege of white), a special prerogative granted under the Pope’s criteria.




Read more:
How to dress if you’re going to meet the pope

At present, there are only seven queens, princesses, or consorts of kings (or kings emeritus) who are granted the “privilege of white”: Queen Consort Leticia of Spain, Queen Emeritus Sofia of Spain, Queen Matilde of Belgium, Queen Paola of Belgium, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, Princess Charlene of Monaco, and Princess Marina of Naples, as a member of the House of Savoy.

It is a tradition meant to emphasize the importance of the Supreme Pontiff, but the popes themselves do not demand respect for the protocol.

In recent years, several heads of government or state were received by a pope without being dressed in black. This was the case, for example, of former Irish Presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese, as well as Raissa Gorbachev of the former Soviet Union. In all these cases, the visitors met with Pope John Paul II.

On several occasions, even queens and princesses who have the “privilege of white” have preferred not to use this prerogative, choosing to dress in black out of reverence for the Holy Father.

This article was originally published in the Italian Edition of Aleteia.

Tags:
PopeStyle
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
morning
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
2
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
3
Joachim and Anne
Philip Kosloski
Did Jesus know his grandparents?
4
ORGAN
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
5
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
6
BABCIA Z WNUKAMI
Cerith Gardiner
5 Ways grandparents impact our lives for the better
7
WOMAN,FACE,MASK
Cecilia Pigg
Simplify your life and honor your body with these 5 natural perso...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.