Pope Francis has once again shown his willingness to break with tradition by bowing to Muslim royal Queen Rania of Jordan.
As leader of the world’s 1.2billion-strong Catholic community, protocol usually dictates that visitors bow to the Pope when they meet him at the Vatican.
But when Queen Rania came to the Holy See with her husband King Abdullah II on Thursday, he inverted that formality by lowering his head to her.
Pope Francis made no discernible bow toward her husband, the king. The Jordanian royals were leaving following a private audience with the pope in his library.
“Francis behaves as he did before he became pope and is not interested in protocol,” a senior Vatican official told the Daily Telegraph.
Up until the 19th century, those meeting the pope stoop to kiss his slippers and, to this day, the tradition remains that all visitors, including women, bow to him, the official said.