Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, has one of the world’s best-known faces. As well as spearheading campaigns for mental health awareness and other fantastic philanthropic endeavours, he is also second-in-line to the British throne.
This week, Prince William came to Israel on what is described as the first-ever official visit from a British royal. (His father, Prince Charles, has previously visited ceremonially for the state funerals of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.) His three-day stop in Israel was part of an unprecedented Middle East tour in which he also met with Jordanian and Palestinian leaders.
On Tuesday, the prince visited Yad Vashem, Jerusalem’s Holocaust museum and centre. After touring the museum, he met with survivors to hear their stories. He also attended a ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance where he kindled the eternal flame and laid a wreath. William has a personal connection to the Holocaust and Jerusalem: his great-grandmother, Princess Alice, was declared Righteous Among Nations for her efforts to save Jews in Greece during WWII.
Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, led a memorial prayer for the deceased. You can watch the ceremony in the video below:
As well as visiting Yad Vashem, Prince William also met with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin at their residences in Jerusalem. He also headed further north to Tel Aviv where he toured the beaches with the city’s mayor. They discussed environmental protections, met some surfers, and even joined a game of volleyball with some locals. The prince also strolled down Tel Aviv’s iconic Rothschild Boulevard with Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) June 27, 2018
The British embassy in Tel Aviv hosted a reception to honour the prince’s visit. He also met with young Israelis to discuss the environment, coexistence, and innovation, and even compared Israel and Britain: “remarkable” and “vibrant” Israel serves as “a reminder of how much we have in common – two open societies which thrive on innovation, diversity, talent, and excellence”.
Prince William’s visit emphasises peace, innovation, and ambition. His appointments in the West Bank included a meeting with the PA leader Abbas, who expressed a desire for peace. He also visited a hospital working on vaccination programs, and schools where he interacted with students.
On Thursday, William visited his great-grandmother’s grave at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem. He also visited the Mount of Olives, visited Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, and prayed at the Western Wall.
The prince leaves Israel with a beautiful sentiment for peace in the region: “This region has a complicated and tragic history – in the past century the people of the Middle East have suffered great sadness and loss. Never has hope and reconciliation been more needed. I know I share a desire with all of you, and with your neighbours, for a just and lasting peace.”