Prince Felipe invites Pope Francis to visit Spain

Vatican City, Mar 19 (EFE).- Pope Francis asked Tuesday after the health of King Juan Carlos in his conversation with Crown Prince Felipe, who invited the pontiff to visit Spain with these words: "We will be delighted if you come."

"Well, we're nearby..." the Argentine pope said in a relaxed tone during the talk they had at St. Peter's Basilica, sources of the royal household told Efe.

Pope Francis, who greeted the more than 130 foreign delegations attending High Mass at the beginning of his pontificate, conversed cordially in St. Peter's Basilica with Felipe and his wife, Princess Letizia.

Both bowed before him and, upon taking his hand, Prince Felipe expressed best wishes to the pope in the name of Spain's king and queen.

The pope then asked about the health of King Juan Carlos, who is convalescing following a March 3 back operation, after which Prince Felipe said: "He is well and recovering."

Finally, the crown prince gave the pope his verbal invitation to visit Spain.