The Prince and Princess of Wales visited Italy in 1985 on their first official tour of a country outside the Commonwealth. The tour was an undoubted success beginning in Sardinia on 19 April and ending in Venice on 5 May. The 16 day tour to Italy was originally planned for October 1984, and postponed because of the Princess's pregnancy.


On the first day in Rome, 26 April, the royal couple attended a lunch at the Casina Valadier. On 24 April, the royal couple visited the Cathedral in Florence and the church of Santa Croce during the morning, followed by a tour of the Uffizi Gallery and a visit to St. Peter's Basilica. The most important part of the royal couple's tour in Rome was meeting Pope John II in a private audience at the Vatican.


The royal couple's busy schedule also included a visit to the town of Livorno, and the Commonwealth war graves cemetery at Anzio, near Rome, where Prince Charles strode out for this ceremony in a full Scottish Highland regalia. In the evening, the royal couple arrived at La Scala for a performance of Puccini's opera 'Turandot'.


On 30 April, the royal couple left Rome and flew to Sicily where they spent an enjoyable time visiting an orange and lemon plantation. Towards the end of the tour before heading north to Venice, royal yacht Britannia took the Prince and Princess of Wales to Trani on the Adriatic coast where they visited the cathedral. Vast crowds turned out to greet them. Later, they visited the naval base at La Spezia.


Among the penalties of the job of the Prince and Princess of Wales is the separation from their children when they go abroad. At the end of the tour of Italy, both Prince William and Prince Henry flew out to Venice to be reunited with their parents at the start of a private cruise on board the royal yacht Britannia.



  • Diana: An Extraordinary Life, By Weidenfeld Nicolson Illustrated. Publication Date: 14 September 1998