Pope Benedict XVI has been welcomed by the Queen in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh after arriving for the first-ever state visit by a pontiff to the UK.
Benedict is then set to tour Britain, holding open-air masses in Glasgow, London and Birmingham.
His visit has caused controversy in one of Europe’s most secular countries as the Catholic Church struggles with a global child sex-abuse scandal.
Concerns have also been raised about the cost of hosting the pontiff.
The visit is expected to cost some twenty-three million euros, with British taypayers picking up more than half of the bill.
Tens of thousands lined the streets of Edinburgh to welcome the 83-year-old pontiff but some demonstrations are planned to protest against the Vatican’s stance on birth control, gay rights and abortion.
The last time a pope visited the UK was twenty-eight years ago when a six-day tour by Benedict’s predecessor, John Paul II, drew massive crowds.