Pope Francis on Monday welcomed Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia to the Vatican.
King Felipe VI, who ascended to the throne earlier this month, met with Pope Francis for about 40 minutes in the pontiff’s private library.
The Spanish monarchs and the pope followed tradition and exchanged gifts.
King Felipe VI told the pontiff that the process that led to his ascending to the throne was “very intense,” but he had taken things “calmly.”
The Spanish monarch bid farewell to the pontiff by saying that he did so “with the hope that we will see you in Spain.”
Pope Francis told Queen Letizia that he was saying goodbye “with the hope of seeing you soon.”
The Spanish monarchs had a 35-minute meeting with Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin following the papal audience at which they discussed social issues, including unemployment, the situation of young people in Spain and events in Ibero-America.
King Felipe told Parolin that he had spoken with Pope Francis during the audience about a papal visit to Spain for the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, Royal Household officials said.
The Spanish monarch explained to the Vatican official that such a trip would be simple and “could be a matter of a few hours,” the officials said.