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Little girl snatches Pope Francis' skullcap, eliciting laughs from the pontiff

Girl grabs Pope's skullcap
Little girl grabs Pope Francis' skullcap 01:44

ROME -- As Pope Francis leaned in for a kiss, three-year-old Estella Westrick went for his skullcap, known as a zuchetto in Italian.

Estella Westrick and her mom Alexis CBS News

It happened too fast for her dad Scott to stop her. “She does what she wants,” he said.

The Westricks are in from Atlanta, and mom Alexis was back at the hotel, reports CBS News correspondent Seth Doane.

“It was the first thing she told me when she came in the door, she said ‘Mommy, I saw the pope, I got his hat,’” she said.

They had lined up for hours with a family friend, who posted the video on Twitter, to try to catch Pope Francis after his weekly audience.

It was clear this independent three-year old does her own thing, whether taking a skullcap from a pope or phone from a reporter.

“OK, you’re taking a photo of me!” Doane said.

“I got ya!” Estella said.

Estella examines the reporter’s phone CBS News

Greg Burke, the head of the Holy See press office, says the pope relishes these unscripted moments.

Greg Burke CBS News

“Obviously the pope is not a regular guy, he’s the pope! But as much as possible, I think he wants to deal with people as if he were,” Burke said.

That’s certainly how Estella dealt with him.

Tell me about taking the pope’s hat, Estella,” Doane said.

“Um, it was good,” she replied.

“It was good? Was it a surprise? Did you surprise yourself?” Doane saked.

“Yeah,” Stella said.

“Why did you do it?”

“I don’t know!”

Estella and Pope Francis Twitter/Mountain Butorac

“Did you think it was funny?”


Apparently the pope thought so too.

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