For their first introduction to Pope Francis, Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump donned their Vatican best—veils included. As is customary for anyone meeting with the pontiff, women are expected to cover their shoulders.
The first lady simultaneously honored the host country by opting for an ensemble designed by Milanese label, Dolce & Gabbana. Melania and Ivanka Trump both sported lace frocks for their visit to the Vatican, but differed in veil style. While the first lady chose a lace black overlay, Ivanka wore a mesh veil attached to a headband. President Donald Trumpdressed in a dark suit and coordinating striped tie for the occasion.
“Per Vatican protocol, women who have an audience with the Pope are required to wear long sleeves, formal black clothing, and a veil to cover the head,” Melania’s communications director Stephanie Grisham told multiple outlets in a statement.
During a stop earlier in the week in Saudi Arabia, the women faced a mix of criticism and praise for not donning headscarves during meetings with leading figures. While some questioned why they had not mirrored the customs of native women, who are required to wear headscarves by law, local press considered Melania’s sartorial choices “elegantly respectful.” Meanwhile, foreign women are not required to wear head coverings.
While they navigate the maze of international dress, both Trump women have kept their schedules filled with local activities throughout the family’s first foreign trip in office. While in Rome, Melania visited children in the intensive care unit of Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome, where she spoke with them in Italian.
Meanwhile, Ivanka sat down with members of the Sant’Egidio community to discuss their programs in support of human trafficking victims. “Hearing directly from the advocates, counselors and victims reaffirms that we must work together to address this critical issue,” she wrote on Instagram.
As for meeting Pope Francis, it certainly seemed like a highlight. “It was an incredible honor to have an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis today,” Ivanka continued on social media. “He is a remarkable man who inspires hope, love and kindness around the globe.”