Margaret Thatcher met Pope Benedict XVI at the end of his weekly general audience today.
The 83-year-old former British prime minister, who led the country from 1979 to 1990, had earlier in the day laid flowers at the tomb of John Paul II. An Anglican, it was Baroness Thatcher’s second visit to the Vatican in less than two years, leading some to speculate whether she is thinking of joining the Church. During her previous trip, she also visited John Paul II’s tomb to pay her respects. According to those who were with her at that time, she made it clear in her characteristically loud voice that it was thanks to John Paul that Soviet communism was brought down.
Baroness Thatcher also met Paul VI back in June 1977.
Also at the end of today’s audience, the Pope met, among others, NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, students from Cuba, and ministers of justice from various countries visiting Rome for a Sant’Egidio conference on banning the death penalty. (NC Register)
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is seen during Pope Benedict XVI's weekly audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican May 27, 2009. (Daylife-Reuters)
Pope Benedict XVI , wearing a red saturn hat, waves to pilgrims at the end of his general audience at Vatican's Saint Peter's Square on May 27, 2009. The leader of the world's one billion Roman Catholics insisted Wednesday that poverty in the world can only be resolved by letting go of materialism and leading a more humble life. "We cannot depend on material property," Benedit XVI said during the general audience. (Daylife-Getty Images)