Privilège du blanc

Le privilège du blanc (Italian: Il privilegio del bianco) is a French term meaning "the privilege of white" used for a Catholic custom whereby certain designated royal women are permitted to wear a white dress and veil during audiences with the Pope.[1] This is an exception to the tradition of women wearing black on such occasions. Those who have been permitted to wear white include the Queens of Belgium, Italy and Spain, the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, the Princess of Monaco, and the princesses of the House of Savoy.

Queen Elena of Italy and Crown Princess Marie-José wearing white garments in the presence of Pope Pius XII at the Quirinal Palace on 27 December 1939.

HistoryEdit

 
The Princess of Monaco meeting Pope Francis on an official state visit at the Vatican.

In the Roman Catholic tradition, black garments signify both virtues of piety and humility.[citation needed] Protocol for papal audiences formerly required that women wear a long black dress with a high collar and long sleeves, and a black mantilla.[2][3] Certain designated Catholic queens and princesses have traditionally been exempted from wearing black garments.

The privilege is not used by the wives of all Catholic monarchs or by the wives of non-Catholic monarchs. Even though they are Catholics, it is not accorded to the Queen of Lesotho or the Princess of Liechtenstein, nor to the wife of the Co-Prince of Andorra. The privilege is also not accorded to Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, who is the Catholic wife of the Protestant King Willem-Alexander.[4]

List of eligibilityEdit

The following living royal women are currently eligible for the privilege:

Kingdom
Duchy
Principality
Royal personage granted for On the occasion of:
  Queen Sofía of Spain Accession of husband to the Spanish throne in 1975
  Queen Paola of the Belgians Accession of husband to the Belgian throne in 1993
  The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg Accession of husband to the Luxembourgish throne in 2000
  The Princess of Monaco[a] Dispensation from Pope Benedict XVI to the House of Grimaldi in 2013[citation needed]
  The Queen of the Belgians Accession of husband to the Belgian throne in 2013
  The Queen of Spain Accession of husband to the Spanish throne in 2014
  The Princess of Naples Dispensation from Pope Pius XI to the House of Savoy in 1929

In recent yearsEdit

Marina, Princess of Naples, wife of the Head of the House of Savoy, Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples, used the privilege on 18 May 2003 during a Catholic mass marking the birth anniversary of Pope John Paul II.[5]

For the first time in Monégasque history on 12 January 2013, Charlene, Princess of Monaco, used the privilege in an audience with Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy See Press Office later issued a press release declaring the following:

"…in accordance with prescribed ceremonial of the Vatican for Catholic Sovereigns, the Princess (of Monaco) was allowed to dress in white."[6]

Charlene used the privilege again on 18 January 2016 when visiting Pope Francis as part of an official state visit to the Vatican with her husband, Albert II, Prince of Monaco.

List of occasions usedEdit

Among the occasions when the privilège du blanc has been exercised are the following:

Date of visit Queen / Princess Supreme Pontiff Occasion
2018 October 14 Queen Sofía of Spain Francis Canonization of Pope Paul VI[7]
2016 September 4 Queen Sofía of Spain Francis Canonization of Saint Teresa of Calcutta[8]
2016 March 21 Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg Francis Private audience[9][10]
2016 January 18 Princess Charlene of Monaco Francis State visit to the Vatican
2015 March 9 Queen Mathilde of Belgium Francis Private audience
2014 June 30 Queen Letizia of Spain Francis State visit to the Vatican
2014 April 27 Queen Sofía of Spain
Queen Paola of Belgium
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
Francis Canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II
2013 March 19 Queen Paola of Belgium
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
Francis Inaugural mass of Pope Francis[11]
2013 January 12 Princess Charlene of Monaco Benedict XVI Private audience[12]
2011 May 1 Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
Queen Paola of Belgium
Benedict XVI Beatification of Pope John Paul II[13]
2009 October 10 Queen Paola of Belgium Benedict XVI Private audience[14][15][16]
2006 May 8 Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg Benedict XVI Private audience[15][16]
2005 April 24 Queen Sofía of Spain
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
Benedict XVI Inaugural mass of Pope Benedict XVI[15][16]
2004 October 3 Queen Fabiola of Belgium John Paul II Beatification of Charles I of Austria[17]
2003 May 18 Princess of Naples, Marina of Savoy John Paul II Birthday of Pope John Paul II[5][18]
2003 March 23 Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg
John Paul II Private audience[19]
1998 May 15 Queen Paola of Belgium John Paul II Private audience[15]
1981 April 30 Queen Sofía of Spain John Paul II Private audience[16]
1978 October 22 Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte of Luxembourg
Queen Sofía of Spain
John Paul II Inaugural mass of Pope John Paul II[16]
1978 September 3 Queen Fabiola of Belgium
Queen Sofía of Spain
Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte of Luxembourg
John Paul I Inaugural mass of Pope John Paul I[16]
1977 February 10 Queen Sofía of Spain Paul VI Private audience[16]
1965 May 6 Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte of Luxembourg Paul VI Private audience[20][21]
1961 June 9 Queen Fabiola of Belgium John XXIII Private audience[16][22][23]
1939 December 28 Queen Elena of Italy
Princess Marie José of Piedmont
Pius XII Papal visit to the Quirinal Palace[24]
1939 January 23 Princess Maria of Savoy Pius XI Private audience after wedding
1930 January 8 Princess Marie José of Piedmont Pius XI Private audience after wedding
1929 December 28 Princess Maria Adelaide of Savoy Pius XI Private audience[25]
1929 December 7 Princess Giovanna of Savoy
Princess Maria of Savoy
Pius XI Private audience[26]
1929 December 5 Queen Elena of Italy
Princess Helene, Duchess of Aosta
Queen of Belgium, Elizabeth of Bavaria
Princess Maria Cristina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies[27]
Pius XI Private audience after signing of the Lateran Treaty[16][28]
1923 November 19 Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain Pius XI Private audience[29][30]

Non complianceEdit

  • Cherie Blair — was criticised for wearing white garments when visiting Pope Benedict XVI on 28 April 2006.[31] Blair was speaking at a Vatican conference on children and youth. The Pontiff, hearing she was at the Vatican, requested she meet with him, only giving her a few minutes' notice and forcing her to rush in her day clothes to accommodate the Pope's request.[32] Blair is a Roman Catholic and has previously worn black garments to meet with the Pontiff.

During the Pontificate of Pope Francis, the protocol was sometimes ignored due to the alleged carefree nature of the Pontiff; as noted by the following audiences in faux pas.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ James-Charles Noonan, Jr., The Church Visible: The Ceremonial Life and Protocol of the Roman Catholic Church (New York: Viking, 1996), 411.
  2. ^ George Seldes, The Vatican: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1934), 125.
  3. ^ Fabio Cassani Pironti, Ordini in ordine: manuale d'uso decorazioni per il corpo diplomatico accreditato presso la Santa Sede, il Sovrano militare Ordine di Malta ed i rispettivi dignitari (Roma: Laurus Robuffo, 2004), 42 and 87.
  4. ^ Queen Maxima of Netherlands before the Most Supreme Pontiff Francis — https://incaelo.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/3825095939.jpg?w=964
  5. ^ a b "Marina in San Pietro con tailleur bianco", Corriere della Sera (19 maggio 2003).
  6. ^ "His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI Holds an Audience with TSHs Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco. (VIDEO)". The Royal Correspondent.
  7. ^ "Pope Francis Receives Queen Sofía of Spain"
  8. ^ "Pope Francis Receives Queen Sofía of Spain"
  9. ^ "Pope Francis receives Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg". news.va. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  10. ^ Photographic image. Getty Images.
  11. ^ Photographic image. Getty Images.
  12. ^ Photographic image. Getty Images.
  13. ^ Photographic image. Getty Images.
  14. ^ Photographic image. Getty Images.
  15. ^ a b c d Mantilla With Me. "Catholic Mantilla - Will You Mantilla With Me?: Politicos and Popes: Mantilla Action in the Vatican". mantillawithme.blogspot.ca.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i Princeps Fidelissimus. "Noble y Real". nobleyreal.blogspot.ca.
  17. ^ Photonews. "Pope Jean-Paul II and queen Fabiola of Belgium". Getty Images.
  18. ^ "The Glittering Casa Savoia".
  19. ^ Photographic image. Getty Images.
  20. ^ Sydney Luxarazzi. "Luxarazzi : Luxarazzi 101: The Grand Ducal Family at the Vatican". lux-arazzi.blogspot.ca.
  21. ^ "Catholic Northwest Progress May 14, 1965 Page 1". stparchive.com.
  22. ^ "Privilege for Fabiola", New York Times (June 10, 1961), 10.
  23. ^ Photo with Pope John XIII
  24. ^ "Speeches 1939 - PIUS XII". vatican.va. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  25. ^ "Italian Princes See Pope: Duke and Duchess of Genoa Among Seven of House of Savoy Present". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 1929-12-29. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Retrieved 2016-06-08. Pope Pius received additional Princes of the ruling House of Savoy in audience today. They included the Duke and Duchess of Genoa, the Prince of Udine, the Duke of Pistoia, the Duke of Bergamo, Princess Maria Adelaide and the Duke of Ancona.
  26. ^ "Prince and Sisters Pay Visit to Pope", New York Times (December 8, 1929), 5.
  27. ^ British Pathe 1929 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDZuqIC7gs4
  28. ^ "Italy's Sovereigns Make First Visit to Pope", New York Times (December 6, 1929), 1.
  29. ^ "Alfonso Received in Papal Splendor", New York Times (November 20, 1923), 7.
  30. ^ "DINASTÍAS - Los Foros de la Realeza • Ver Tema - LOS PRIMOS HERMANOS DEL REY". forogratis.es. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  31. ^ "White outfit, wrong occasion, Cherie". Telegraph Online.
  32. ^ Association, Press (28 April 2006). "Cherie Blair gets surprise audience with Pope". Retrieved 1 October 2016 – via The Guardian.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Charlene of Monaco did not obtain the privilege in 2011 upon her marriage to a Catholic monarch, rather was gifted for her upcoming birthday by Pope Benedict XVI on 2013 for the matrimonial commitment of raising their children in the Roman Catholic faith.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Privilège du blanc at Wikimedia Commons