President Sergio Mattarella and Premier Mario Draghi led the way as Italy saluted Queen Elizabeth II after the British monarch’s death on Thursday. Pope Francis also paid homage.
In a message of condolence to King Charles III, President Mattarella hailed Elizabeth as “a figure of exceptional importance”.
“She will be remembered for her authoritative wisdom, her exceptionally high sense of responsibility, expressed, above all, in the spirit of generosity with which the sovereign devoted herself to her long life at the service of British citizens and the wider family of the Commonwealth”.
Draghi said the Queen had been an “absolute protagonist of the world’s history of the last 70 years. “She represented the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth with balance, wisdom, respect for the institutions and democracy.
“She was the best loved symbol of her country and garnered respect, affection and fondness all over the world. She guaranteed stability in moments of crisis and kept alive the value of tradition in a society in constant and profound evolution.
“The deep dignity with which she held office for such a long time have been a constant source of admiration for generations”.
Pope Francis pays tribute
The pope paid tribute to Elizabeth’s “life of unstinting service to the good of the Nation and the Commonwealth, her example of devotion to duty, her steadfast witness of faith in Jesus Christ and her firm hope in his promises,” in a message to Charles.
“Commending her noble soul to the merciful goodness of our Heavenly Father, I assure Your Majesty of my prayers that Almighty God will sustain you with his unfailing grace as you now take up your high responsibilities as King. Upon you and all who cherish the memory of your late mother, I invoke an abundance of divine blessings as a pledge of comfort and strength in the Lord”.
Queen’s passing dominates front pages
The death of Queen Elizabeth II dominated the front pages of Italy’s newspapers on Friday.
“The Queen of Two Centuries,” declared the lead headline of Corriere della Sera. It also featured the comment of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who referred to her as “the matriarch of our nation”.
“Charles III is the new king: comforted by the world’s love for her”.
Rome-based daily La Repubblica called Elizabeth “the Last Queen” and picked up on the crowds of mourners in tears outside Buckingham Palace. Il Messaggero called her “the Last Monarch”.
La Stampa devoted its front page to “The Queen, 1926-2022”.