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Pope Benedict will honour his official commitments and public engagements until February 28, the date of his resignation, according to Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the Pope's resignation was his own "personal decision" without any outside pressure.
A charity that fulfils dreams for ill children says it's shocked by the Pope's resignation, after sending nine children to see him in Italy.
The visits were organised by Wishes 4 Kids, a Leicester based charity that has brought to life dreams come true for hundreds of local youngsters.
The charity was set up by Russell Brickett.
"Total surprise. We have taken nine children for the audience with Pope Benedict, so we have seen those slight changes occur in him. But nonetheless, it is still such a great surprise," said Russell.
Over the years, children have been taken to places like Disneyland Paris and rubbed shoulders with their favourite pop stars and sporting heroes.
Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation today at a St. Peter's Basilica mass in the Vatican.
The Pope's statement is in Latin.
Read the transcript of his statement here.
Latest ITV News reports
Pope Benedict XVI has announced his resignation today, here is his full statement.