Pope emotional as statue taken to UK after Falklands War returns to Argentina

Pope Francis appeared to wipe away tears during a ceremony in St Peter’s Square marking the return to Argentina of a Virgin Mary statue which ended up in Britain after the Falklands War.

The statue was handed over to the senior chaplain to the Argentine forces by the Catholic Bishop to the UK armed services.

Argentine troops had brought a statue of Our Lady of Lujan to the Falkland Islands, or Las Malvinas, when they invaded the British colony in 1982.

After the two-month war, the statue ended up in a military cathedral in Britain, where it served as a focus for prayers for the dead from both sides.

Following his public audience, Francis wiped his eyes and kissed a stone plaque which honours the war dead in his Argentine homeland.

The statue is going back to Argentina, while British Catholics will get a replica at the Catholic Military Cathedral of St Michael and St George in Aldershot.

Britain defeated Argentina, which believed the Falklands were illegally taken from it in 1833.