Princess Margaret received a private audience with Pope Pius XII during her visit to Rome in May 1949. Dressed in black, her head covered with a fine silk veil, the Princess attended the Vatican on the afternoon of the 10 May. She was accompanied by the Queen's private secretary, Major Harvey and his wife. She spent 20 minutes in private conversation with the Pope and on leaving he presented her with present icon. During the time in the Vatican she was shown the Raphael Rooms, the Sistine Chapel and the basilica of St. Peters.
A contemporary photograph shows the Princess after her audience, being escorted by a Knight of Malta and men of the Swiss Guard. In her hands she is holding the Pope's gift.
In the morning of the same day Princess Margaret was shown the Forum and the Campidoglio. She then lunched with the President Einaudi at the Quirinal Palace together with the British Ambassador Sir Victor Mallet, Lady Mallet, Signor de Gasperi, Count Sforza and the Presidents of the Chamber and the Senate.
H.R.H. The Princess Margaret at the Vatican, holding the present lot