Dressed all in black - as she was for her first visit to the Vatican in 1977 - and with a lace veil covering her head, Margaret Thatcher met briefly with Pope Benedict in St Peter's Square on Wednesday.
The 82-year-old pontiff spoke with the former prime minister for several minutes after his weekly audience. During their conversation Mrs Thatcher encouraged the Pope to accept Gordon Brown's recent invitation to visit Britain.
Before their meeting, the 83-year-old retired politician laid a wreath of white roses at the tomb of John Paul II, who she was politically close to and visited in November 1980.
Baroness Thatcher is in Rome visiting old friends Lord Powell – her principal foreign policy secretary in Downing Street - and his wife Lady Carla. She is staying with the couple at their villa on the outskirts of the city
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