As part of a weekend-long celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 70 years on the throne, Pope Francis has sent a telegram to the Queen offering his prayers and warm wishes on June 2.
He adds: "On the joyous occasion of your Majesty's birthday, and as you celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of your reign, I send you my cordial greetings and heartfelt wishes, as well as an assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will bless you, the Royal Family and all of the people of this country with blessings of unity, prosperity, and peace."
The Pope sent Queen Elizabeth a previously unpublished message on March 29, in which he praised her steadfast service for the advancement of her people and preserving her illustrious spiritual, cultural, and political heritage.
Pope Francis has donated a Cedar of Lebanon tree to the Queen's Green Canopy initiative in honor of her commitment to the care of God's creation.
According to him, this tree, which in the Bible symbolizes the flourishing of fortitude, justice, and prosperity, will ensure the world's comfort and prosperity.
It is intended that people across the United Kingdom "Plant a Tree for the Jubilee"; in addition to inviting new trees to be planted, The Queen's Green Canopy intends to establish a network of 70 ancient woodlands and identify 70 ancient trees to commemorate Her Majesty's 70 years of service.
During the meeting, which marked the 100th anniversary of British diplomatic relations with the Holy See, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, met with Pope Francis.
A big basket of food from her estates was presented to Pope Francis directly after the meeting; items included honey, a dozen eggs, a venison haunch, shortbread, juice, preserves, and balmoral whiskey; and Queen Elizabeth presented Pope Francis with the Pope's order extending the cult of St. Edward the Confessor.
Since 1952, when she was 25 years old, when she ascended to the throne, Queen Elizabeth has met four Popes as Queen, five in her lifetime.
In 1951, Princess Elizabeth first visited the Vatican as the Pope at the time was Pius XII. On May 5, 1961, she made her first visit to the Vatican as Queen. Pope John XXIII received her and Prince Philip in the audience.
Two years later, Pope John Paul II paid a pastoral visit to Great Britain just two years after Queen Elizabeth's state visit to the Vatican in 1980.
In October 2000, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited the Vatican once again in the new millennium.
During his pilgrimage to Great Britain on behalf of Cardinal John Henry Newman's beatification, Pope Benedict XVI met the Queen in Edinburgh. - Anbu Selvam
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