Will Prince William follow royal tradition with a tattoo at centuries-old Jerusalem parlour?

May 29, 2018 by Mara Vigevani - TPS
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Ever since Kensington Palace announced the dates of Prince William’s  scheduled trip to the region on Friday, speculation has been rife that he will visit the Razzouk tattoo parlour in Jerusalem’s Old City to acquire a tattoo of the cross and follow in the footsteps of his royal ancestors King Edward VII in 1862 and Princes  Albert and George (the future King George V) in 1882.

Wassim Razzouk Photo: Hillel Maeir/TPS

While Wassim Razzouk,  the current proprietor of the parlour, categorically denied that representatives of the British royal family had contacted him, he said that he would be honored to tattoo Prince William with the Jerusalem Cross.

“If Prince William would ask me to tattoo him, I would suggest the Jerusalem Cross design, traditionally tattooed on Christian pilgrims visiting the city,” Razzouk told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) .

The art of tattooing has been in the Coptic Christian Razzouk family for seven centuries and Wassim is the 27th generation of the family to practice the art. In 1750, the family moved from Egypt  to Jerusalem where the parlour immediately became an essential stop for pilgrims who would ask Wassim’s ancestors to leave a mark on their body, an eternal sign of their sojourn in the Holy Land.

Asked how would he feel to tattoo a member of the royal family he answered that from his point of view all his clients are the same.

“I would treat him as a regular customer and respect him as anybody else,” he said. “I understand Prince William and his wife Kate have a very modern approach, maybe also she would do the tattoo,” he speculated.

Kensington Palace has not said however that the Duchess of Cambridge will be joining her husband on the royal tour. The couple recently had their third child, Louis Arthur Charles, on April 23.

Prince William’s visit to the region will commence in Jordan on June 24, and he will arrive in Israel the next day. He will be in Israel until June 28, with a trip to Ramallah on June 27.

The visit is “at the request of Her Majesty’s Government and has been welcomed by the Jordanian, Israeli, and Palestinian authorities.” according to a statement released by Kensington Palace.

While this will be the first-ever royal state visit to Israel, Prince William’s father,  Prince Charles; his grandfather, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh; and Prince Charles’ brother, Prince Edward, have all made private visits to honor Princess Alice of Battenberg, Prince Philip’s mother, who is buried at the Convent of Saint Mary Magdalene on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

Prince Charles also attended the funerals of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 and Shimon  Peres in 2016.

Outlining the possible reasons the visit is taking place now, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, BICOM, said several reasons had driven the change in policy.

With Brexit, the British Government needs to“reach out to friends and allies outside of Europe, and the Government views Israel as a key future trade partner,” BICOM researchers wrote in a briefing ahead of the royal visit.  Moreover, they added, “there are many strong pro-Israel positions in the British government.”

Since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, Bilateral trade between Israel and Britain has reached record levels, with figures for 2016 approaching $8 billion, an all-time high.

When plans for the trip were first announced in March,  Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called it a “historic visit” that would be received “with great affection.”

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