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Queen to visit Italy and Vatican

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are to visit Rome and will have an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Buckingham Palace has said.

The royal couple will travel to Italy in April for the one day visit that had originally been scheduled for last year but was postponed due to the Queen being unwell.

Buckingham Palace said in a short statement: " The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, will visit Rome on Thursday 3 April. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness are visiting at the invitation of the President of Italy, President Napolitano.

"The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will visit the presidential palace where they will attend a private lunch hosted by the President.

"Following the private lunch Her Majesty and His Royal Highness will have an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican."

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