Throughout the company's 270-year history, Villeroy & Boch has been invited to produce special editions for ruling houses all around the world. Since the mid-20th century, a new service prestigious enough to meet the exacting standards of housekeeping at the Papal Palace has been supplied whenever a new Pope has been elected. A tradition that is an honour and a duty in equal measure.
The central décor of the papal tableware is the crest of the pontifex. It shows the insignia of the highest dignitary of the Roman Catholic Church and presents a visual representation of the papal office. Each Pope is free to decide whether the design should feature rich ornamentation (Pius XII) or a more modest design (as chosen by Benedict XVI), and he is given several designs to choose from.
The uniqueness of the papal tableware, which is not only used in the Pope's private chambers, but also for official occasions, makes an unrivalled and exquisite contribution to the outstanding dining standards that are enjoyed by a very select group of guests. Nonetheless, only a handful of people ever get to enjoy the privilege of dining with this sumptuous tableware.
Each papal tableware design is based on a timeless and beautifully formed basic white collection. The tableware chosen by Benedict XVI was based on the Royal Service, which is made of premium bone porcelain, a particularly fine quality of porcelain. The typically soft sheen of this porcelain and its delicate translucence symbolise the position of the Holy Father as the messenger from a world beyond.