Queen and Pope exchange gifts

The Queen gave the Pontiff culinary delights, while he gave her a gift for her great grandson.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth (L), accompanied by her husband the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip (C), as she greets Pope Francis at the Vatican on 3 April. Picture: AFP.

VATICAN - Queen Elizabeth met Pope Francis for the first time on Thursday and gave the bemused pontiff culinary delights from the royal estates, including a dozen eggs and a bottle of whisky.

"I've also brought something from all our estates, which is for you personally," said the queen as she handed Francis a wicker basket full of food at the end of a 17-minute private meeting in the Vatican.

The 18 items from Buckingham Palace, Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral also included two types of honey, chutney and handmade aromatherapy soaps.

A Vatican official said the pope would likely share the food with other residents of the guesthouse where he has lived since his election after renouncing the spacious papal apartments or would donate it.

The Queen and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, met the pope in a modern room attached to the Vatican's audience hall without much of the ceremonial pomp that usually accompanies such visits.

A Vatican statement did not say what the two discussed.

Francis also gave the queen a gift for her eight-month-old great-grandson, Prince George of Cambridge. It was a sphere made of lapis lazuli, a deep blue semi-precious stone, topped with the silver cross of St Edward.

"He will be thrilled by it," the queen told the pope. Then she paused and added: "When he is a little older".