British queen in Rome, ahead of visit with pope

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, is flanked by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, left, as she arrives at the Quirinale Presidential palace in Rome, Thursday, April 3, 2014, for a one-day visit to Italy and the Vatican. The British Royals will meet Pope Francis in the afternoon. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

April 3, 2014 5:28:57 AM PDT
Queen Elizabeth II has come to Rome for lunch with Italy's president ahead of the British monarch's first meeting with Pope Francis.

Arriving Thursday afternoon at the Quirinal presidential palace atop of one of Rome's ancient hills, the queen wore a lilac-colored spring coat and matching hat that were practically the same colors of the wisteria blooming over much of the Italian capital. President Giorgio Napolitano escorted Elizabeth, accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, into a palace room for lunch.

Her Vatican visit was scheduled for mid-afternoon. The queen canceled a 2013 visit with Napolitano last year due to ill health.

Before Francis, Elizabeth had met with four pontiffs, starting with Pope Pius XII in 1951, a year before her accession to the throne.