After days of impeccable first lady fashion abroad — which included a caped Reem Acra gown in Saudi Arabia and a fitted white Michael Kors suit in Israel — I woke up Wednesday morning to Melania Trump in a long-sleeved Dolce & Gabbana dress and black lace veil — or mantilla — for a visit with Pope Francis.
First daughter Ivanka Trump was dressed nearly identically.
What was that fashion statement all about?
Since biblical times, women of faith — that would be Christian, Jewish and Islamic — wore veils when in the presence of God.
Catholic women religiously covered their heads in church through the second Vatican Council (1962-1965) After that, the rules of the church became more lax.
However, women invited to a private meeting with the pope still are required to wear a modest dress in a dark color, preferably black. Hemlines must fall below the knee; flashy jewelry should be avoided.
The only women who do not have to wear black in the presence of the pontiff are Catholic queens. That means, according to The Vatican Insider, that Queen Letizia of Spain, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, and the Grand Duchess of Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, all from Catholic monarchies.
During the Trump’s visit to The Vatican, Pope Francis blessed a set of rosaries for Melania Trump. The White House cofirmed on Wednesday that Melania Trump is a practicing Catholic.
When Michelle Obama met Pope Benedict in 2009, she too wore a black skirt suit, though she opted for a black scarf instead of the mantilla.
But when Queen Elizabeth visited Pope Francis back in 2014, she wore a lavender suit and matching hat.