THE Queen gave the Pope a bottle of whisky from Balmoral while he gave her a present of an orb for her great-grandson Prince George as they met at the Vatican yesterday.

A smiling Queen arrived around 20 minutes later than expected after a private lunch at the Quirinal Palace in Rome with Italy's president Giorgio Napolitano.

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, shook hands with the head of the Roman Catholic church and said: "Sorry to keep you waiting, we were having lunch with the president", before heading into a private meeting with the pontiff.

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The meeting was followed by a formal exchange of gifts.