VATICAN CITY, May 29 (UPI) -- Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher urged Pope Benedict XVI during a meeting in Vatican City to accept an invitation to visit Britain.
Thatcher, 83, who is staying with friends in Rome, encouraged the pontiff during their meeting after his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square to accept Prime Minister Gordon Brown's invitation to visit the British isles, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.
The meeting was arranged by Carla Powell, whose husband, Charles, served as Thatcher's principal foreign policy adviser during her tenure as prime minister. Thatcher is staying with the Powells in Rome.
Paul Johnson, a friend of Thatcher's who accompanied her to the Vatican, said it was difficult to obtain an audience with Benedict.
"Of all the Popes that I have known since Pius XII (died 1958), Benedict XVI is the most difficult to see. He is a hands-on-boss, running an enormous machine, and only sees visitors when there is real business to be done," Johnson said.