UK celebrates 100 years of diplomatic relations with Vatican

Cardinal Parolin to preside at celebratory Mass at St Paul's outside the Walls

A Mass marking the centenary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the UK and the Holy See will be celebrated by the Vatican's secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin at the Basilica of St Paul's outside the Walls on 3 December at 17.30.

The Mass will be attended by Baroness Anelay, Britain's minister of state at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and the British ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker.

During her visit Baroness Anelay will meet with senior Vatican officials to discuss a range of human rights issues including freedom of religion, modern slavery, and the persecution of Christian minorities in the Middle East, as well as international development and global climate change negotiations.

Underlining the importance of the anniversary, Baroness Anelay cited the 2010 UK visit of Benedict XVI and the historic meeting in April between Queen Elizabeth and Pope Francis as the most recent highlights in the UK’s engagement with the Holy See.

Diplomatic links between London and the Vatican were first established in 1479 but were interrupted by the English Reformation in the mid-16th century. Formal diplomatic ties between the UK and the Holy See were restored in 1914 and raised to ambassadorial level in 1982 with the arrival of Sir Mark Heath.

Nigel Baker is the ninth British ambassador to the Holy See and has held this post since 2011. For an insight into diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the UK, see this ','','');return false;" href="">video by Ambassador Baker.