In the past few days it's come to light that Lord Chamberlain Earl Peel, a chief officer in the Royal Household, met with Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols after Pope Benedict XVI's offer to bring traditionalist Anglicans into the Catholic fold was made public.
Such visits might sound routine to those of us on this side of the pond; the English press assures us they are not.
The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that they met at Archbishop's House in Westminster in November, a fortnight after the Pope's offer was made.
The Archbishop reassured Lord Peel that Pope Benedict had only issued the decree in response to the requests of traditionalist Anglicans disillusioned with the liberal direction of their Church.
He stressed that it had not been intended as a hostile act or to in any way destabilise the Church of England, which has been engulfed in rows over women bishops and gay clergy.
The Pope is due to visit Britain in September, and apparently his visit is still on, but in the aftermath of his offer to disaffected Anglicans, his office has been advised to look for somewhere other than Buckingham Palace to stay; and plans for a state dinner in his honor have been scrubbed.
Two days ago, the Telegraph's Damien Thompson described the Queen herself as
“unhappy” about aspects of the [Vatican's] scheme as she understood it
a somewhat “Low Church” Anglican who feels it is her solemn duty to preserve the Protestant identity of the Church of England [and who] appears to have been alarmed by press reports of Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus.