The Queen visits the Vatican

On Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 November, The Queen visited the Vatican to take part in the seminar Narcotics: Problems and Solutions of this Global Issue conference. During her visit, The Queen also opened a Rembrandt exhibition at the Vatican Museum.

Pope Francis had taken the initiative for the two-day international symposium Narcotics: Problems and Solutions of this Global Issue, which was held at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Organisations, politicians, experts and researchers representing a wide range of expertise came together to hold discussions and to share their knowledge and experience.

The Queen opened the two-day conference on drug abuse among young people, which was held at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Photo:

The Queen opened the seminar, emphasising the fact that narcotics are a global problem which affects everyone, and which requires international cooperation. She also spoke about how the world's vulnerable children are more likely to fall victim to the curse of narcotics, and that information alone is not enough in the work to prevent drug abuse. Visions for long-term preventive work, effective work structures and committed adults are also needed.

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Speakers during the conference included journalist and author Roberto Saviano, who has written about the Mafia's international narcotics trade, Chairman of Mentor International Yvonne Thunell, who spoke about the effects of Mentor's work to prevent drug abuse among young people, and Robert L. DuPont, MD, President of the Institute for Behaviour and Health and former Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, USA.

Pope Francis attended the conference on the Thursday.

The Pope spoke during the second day of the conference. Photo: AFP Photo/Osservatore Romano

On the Wednesday evening, The Queen and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands opened the exhibition "Rembrandt and the Vatican – images from heaven and earth" at the Vatican Museum. The exhibition features around 50 etchings by the 17th century master, which are on loan from the Zorn Museum in Mora External link, opens in new window., together with a couple of oil paintings on loan from a private Dutch collection.

The Queen and Princess Beatrix at the Rembrandt exhibition. Photo: IBL/PPE/Insight Media

In her opening speech, The Queen spoke about how the Swedish artist Anders Zorn admired Rembrandt and collected etchings. Rembrandt was the child of a Catholic mother and a Protestant father, and worked at a time when religion played an important role in public life. Nevertheless, few 17th century Dutch artists depicted Biblical scenes as devotedly as Rembrandt. The Queen concluded by urging us to let Rembrandt teach us how to see the greatness in the expression of the faces of the poor, the marginalised and the vulnerable, and to let his art be an inspiration to us to strive for a better world.

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After the opening of the exhibition, The Queen and Princess Beatrix were given a guided tour of the Vatican Museum by Director Antonio Paolucci.

About Mentor

Mentor is a world-leading drugs prevention organisation which The Queen founded in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1994.

Mentor International External link, opens in new window. is the international umbrella organisation that Mentor Sweden is part of and works in partnership with. The organisation is represented in the Middle East, the USA, South America, the UK, Germany and the Baltic States, and has also carried out projects in 70 countries through various field organisations.

Since being founded, Mentor has reached more than 2.5 million children and young people.