Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, will visit Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) this summer. The UK embassy in Israel announced, "The visit, which was requested by Her Majesty's government, was welcomed by the authorities in Israel, Jordan, and the PA."
Throughout 70 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and the UK, no member of the UK royal family has ever paid an official visit to Israel.
There have been isolated unofficial visits - Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth's oldest son and heir to the throne (and Prince William's father) has twice visited Israel for state funerals (Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres). Prince Philip, the Queen's husband has attended a ceremony at Yad Vashem. However, Queen Elizabeth II herself, the UK monarch who has made the most state visits of any monarch in history, has never visited Israel.
Several years ago, Prince Charles attended the funeral of Shimon Peres in Israel, and took advantage of his visit to go to the Mount of Olives and visit the Church of Mary Magdalene, where his grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, the mother of Prince Philip, the Queen's consort, is buried. Princess Alice was recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations for saving a Greek Jewish family during the Holocaust. The visit was kept secret. Charles's visit, including his attendance at Peres's funeral, was classified as a private non-state visit. At the order of the Queen of England, as noted in the embassy's announcement, the UK policy against royal visits is now changing.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to the news, "We welcome the announcement of Prince William's impending arrival in Israel. This is a historic visit, the first of its kind, and it will be welcomed with great enthusiasm. I have instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs director general to coordinate the preparations for the visit in order to ensure its success."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on March 1, 2018
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