They are wearing the ABITO PIANO not choir robes.
That's the real color of their cassocks. Before the disasterous "reforms" of Vatican II and even more radical initiatives of Paul VI (including vesture), there were different colors of cassock for the various ranks of Monsignors, Papal chamberlains, Domestic prelates, Prelates of Honor of His Holliness, etc.The color for these two Monsignors, who were Pius XII's private secretaries and both future Cardinals was the highest rank for Vatican monsignors. These men were:Monsignor near the wall was Monsignor (later Cardinal created by Paul VI in 1965) Federico Callori di Vignale (d. 1973), the other shorter bald man was Monsignor (later Cardinal) Mario Nasalli Rocca di Corneliano ( created a Cardinal by Paul VI in 1969, d. 1988). At the time of this picture, his uncle was a Cardinal serving in the Vatican. Both men came from Roman nobility. Both worked with Paul VI when he was just a Monsignor and private secretary of Pius XII (till 1953).Cardinal Federico Callori di Vignale especially disliked the reforms of Vatican II, and the Novus Ordo.Cardinal Nasalli Rocca di Corneliano was the opposite. He was a rich man, and donated the hideous altar that used to be used at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peters before Benedict XVI discarded it for the more ornate traditional looking altar of today.Nasalli Rocca's altar used to be sarcastically called "the Ironing Board".But look at the very sad look in Nasalli Rocca's eyes in this picture. Pius XII was ill at the time of this photo was taken at Castel Gandolfo. In fact, this is probably the last photo taken before Pius XII becaue gravely ill and died, October 9, 1958.You can tell by the look in Nasalli Rocca's eyes that he knew what was coming. But sooner than he expected I am sure.
Thanks for the very detailed info! A great Christmas gift! I just wondered why that shade of purple for prelates, and me never seeing this shade of purple thought of them as the mourning purple.Again, thanks for the great info and to JP for the wonderful blog!A Blessed and Joyous Christmas to all!