Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain, made a quick visit to Rome yesterday. She met President Giorgio Napolitano and Pope Francis.
It can seem incredible since Italy and Great Britain battled each other during World War II, but the two countries have had historically a solid and very positive relationship.
Great Britain unofficially supported Italy during its independence struggle, and the two countries were allied in the Crimean War, in the Eight Nations Alliance which put down the Boxer Rebellion in China and in World War I. London backed the first ill-fated attempt by Italy to annex Ethiopia.
During the Belle Epoque, no British gentleman could escape a long tour in Italy.
Even during World War II, the two countries were technically “co-belligerent” against Germany between 1943 and 1945. During the Cold War, they were both NATO Members.
The Anglo-Italian relationship is even the subject of a movie by Franco Zeffirelli, “Tea with Mussolini”.