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This article was first published 15 years ago

The Pope hosts G8 First Ladies

Last updated on: July 9, 2009 

Image: Pope with the wives of G8 leaders
Photographs: G8website/Ansa

Even as world leaders deliberated on global issues in Italy, Pope Benedict XVI hosted their wives on Wednesday.

The Pope received the group following his weekly general audience in Vatican City.

The Pope hosts G8 First Ladies

Image: The Pope walks past the First Ladies

The group comprised of Gursharan Kaur, wife of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sarah Brown, the wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Margarita Calderon, wife of Mexican President Felipe Calderon, and Filippa Reinfeldt, wife of Swedish Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt and Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma, wife of South African President Jacob Zuma, were also at the audience along with Margarida Barroso, wife of European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso.

The Pope hosts G8 First Ladies

Image: First Ladies visiting the Vatican gardens following the Pope's hearing
US First Lady Michelle Obama was also not part of the meeting with the Pope as she is expected to have a separate audience with the Pope on Friday alongside her husband and US President Barack Obama. 

The Pope hosts G8 First Ladies

Image: The group at the Saint Peter's Basilica
Photographs: Osservatore Romano/Reuters

According to the Scotsman, the group was given a tour of the Vatican by Mara Carfagna, a 33-year-old former nude model and Miss Italia contestant, handpicked by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to become his equalities minister. 

Carfagna was only drafted in because the woman who should have acted as First Hostess, Berlusconi's wife Veronica Lario, is currently divorcing the prime minister over his friendship with an 18-year-old aspiring model, the report added.