Belgian royals hop in to see Pope Francis

Pope Francis speaks with King Philippe of Belgium and Queen Mathilde during a private audience on March 9, 2015 at the Vatican (AFP Photo/Gabriel Bouys)

Vatican City (AFP) - Belgium's King Philippe and his wife Mathilde met Pope Francis on Monday, with the queen hopping into the Vatican on crutches and in a knee brace after a recent fall.

The royal couple, both devout Catholics, had a 20-minute private audience with the pontiff. None of their four children were with them.

Mathilde, sporting an all-white outfit topped off by a lace veil, arrived for the meeting in a wheelchair but switched to crutches before being greeted by the pope.

Royal officials have not divulged how the queen injured her left leg but she is thought to have had a fall during a recent ski holiday.