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The XXVI World Youth Day has just ended in Madrid. For this reason, His Holiness Pope Benedict  travelled to Spain last Thursday. He was received at the airport by the King and Queen with all the honours of a head of State and all the exceptions his spiritual role as head of the Catholic Church entails.

Their Majesties greet Pope Benedict upon his arrival

King Juan Carlos speaks during the Welcome Ceremony at the airport

The King and Queen with Pope Benedict during a private meeting at the airport

The next day, the Pope paid a visit to the Royal Family in Zarzuela Palace, and spent around half an hour in a meeting with His Majesty as a fellow head of State. All the members of the Family, except the Infanta Doña Cristina and her family, back in Washington after the summer holidays, were present.  The wait and the arrival of Benedict XVI gave us the opportunity of seeing the youngest royals, and appreciate how grown up and responsible Victoria Federica and Felipe Juan Froilán look, and how cute and adorable the littlest Infantas are.

The Royal Family waits for Benedict XVI's arrival

Felipe, Letixia e infantitas

Infanta Sofía resents waking up early during the summer holidays

Their Majesties with their eldest daughter and grandchildren

His Holiness arrives in the Palace of Zarzuela

The Royal Family and the Pope in Zarzuela



On Saturday, HH the Pope officiated a prayer vigil in the Cuatro Vientos airport for over a million young pilgrims. TRH the Prince and Princess of Asturias  attended the vigil.

Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia receive Pope Benedict before the prayer vigil

The Prince and Princess at the Vigil

The visit ended on Sunday, starting with a Mass celebrated again at the Cuatro Vientos airport, where Their Majesties were present before attending the farewell ceremony that evening in Barajas.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía during the Mass

Farewell Ceremony

Farewell Ceremony

Farewell Ceremony

Farewell Ceremony

Photos: Casa de S.M. el Rey/Borja Fotógrafos, Daylife/Getty Images.