Benedict XVI has become the first pope to resign in over 700 years, telling a tearful crowd of faithful that he will now be "a simple pilgrim" as cardinals on Friday begin preparing for a conclave in the Sistine Chapel to elect his successor.
A Swiss guards closes the entrance door of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo at 1900GMT, when Pope Benedict XVI officially resigned on February 28, 2013. The Vatican flag flying over the palace was lowered as the Swiss Guards -- the papacy's military corps since the 15th century -- formally completed their mission to protect the pope..
The final day of Benedict's reign was filled with emotion, with liveried Swiss Guards shutting the doors of his new temporary residence of Castel Gandolfo near Rome to mark the moment.
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