A HAMPSHIRE couture designer has dressed the Queen to meet the Pope - for the second time.

Maureen Rose (pictured) made the outfit the monarch wore at yesterday's Vatican visit.

The ice-blue creation the Queen wore for the state banquet at the Quirinal Palace in Rome on Monday was also the top seamstress's work - as was the suit she wore for her arrival in Italy.

This is the second time Maureen, 63, who runs a couture business based on the Somerley Estate near Ringwood, has decked out Her Majesty for a high-profile meeting with the head of the Catholic Church.

She also made the velvet taffeta dress the Queen wore when meeting Pope John Paul II 20 years ago. This time there was speculation she might break with tradition and opt for a pastel-coloured outfit. But in the end, she went for black silk and lace, together with a veiled hat.

Referring to the evening dress, with its intricate embroidery, she said: "That's lovely - it's a most beautiful colour. It's ice blue with silver lace and aquamarine beads. I wanted it to look like an iceberg. But she didn't wear the necklace I thought she was going to wear with it."

Grandmother Maureen worked for designers Norman Hartnell and Ian Thomas before setting up on her own. She is the first female designer to receive a Royal Warrant for the excellence of her work.