Pope Francis has held private talks with Jordan's king and queen together, in a twist on Vatican protocol which usually sees the pontiff meeting only with the ruler and chatting later with the spouse and the rest of the delegation.
Francis said simply, in English, to King Abdullah II “Welcome, your majesty,” as the royal couple arrived in the apostolic palace Thursday for the 20-minute meeting. Before journalists were ushered out of the hall, Queen Rania told Francis it was a “tremendous honor” to meet him.
Attentive to the plight of refugees, Francis was expected to talk about Jordan's sheltering those fleeing from the civil war in neighboring Syria. After the private talk with Francis, Abdullah spoke with top Vatican diplomats.
Pope meets privately with Jordan’s king and queen