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Pope Francis Hugs Toddler In Matching Pope Costume

14/08/2014 16:58 | Updated 20 May 2015

Vatican Pope

When Pope Francis spotted a little boy dressed up in miniature papal robes at his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square, the photo opportunity was too good to pass up.

But the confused toddler, 19-month-old Daniele De Sanctis, got himself into a right tizz as his costume came to life before his eyes. He was photographed wailing as his mum passed him up to the Popemobile for a cuddle from Pope Francis.

After a few moments, Daniele calmed down and seemed good as gold by the time he was handed back to his mother. But his mini-meltdown with the Holy Father certainly made for a unique, hilarious photo - his family will probably never let him live it down!

Vatican Pope

The child's mother, Paola Ciabattini, said the costume was an affectionate tribute to the Pope, who the locals know as 'Papa Francesco'. The Italian population appear to have taken the new pope to heart in a way that recalls the deep personal fondness many Italians felt for Pope John Paul II, whose picture still adorns the wall of many a pizzeria nearly 10 years after his death.

Daniele wasn't the only one to attend the audience in costume. Fancy dress is a traditional past-time during the lead up to Mardi Gras - Pancake Day to you and me - and several children in St Peter's Square came dressed as Swiss Guards, the Pope's flamboyantly-dressed traditional bodyguards.

Vatican Pope

Pope Francis, who took on the mantle of Supreme Pontiff last year, has quickly become known for his easy manner and friendly regard for the youngest members of the Church.

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