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