It will be a historic moment in the Vatican: on Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m., former Pope Benedict XVI. (1927-2022) with a funeral service on St. Peter's Square and then buried. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (64) as well as Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (66) and his wife are traveling from Germany.
"Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Elke Büdenbender are traveling to Rome on January 5 for the funeral ceremonies for the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI," announced the Office of the Federal President. According to reports, Italy's President Sergio Mattarella (81) and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (45) are also expected.
Since Benedict XVI. was no longer an incumbent pope at the time of his death, only official delegations from his native Germany and Italy were invited.
In addition to top politicians, several European royals also travel to the funeral service. From Spain, Sophia, 84, mother of King Felipe, 54, is taking part, the palace said in an official statement. Also confirmed is the participation of Belgium's King Philippe (62) and his wife, Queen Mathilde (49).