The Prince and the President

June 27, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin welcomed His Royal Highness Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge to the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, marking the first official visit to the State of Israel by a member of the British Royal Family.

Prince Willliam and President Rivlin Photo: Amos Ben Gershom (GPO

Prince William’s father, HRH Charles, Prince of Wales, had previously visited Israel for the funeral of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, and had also visited the President in his residence after attending the funeral of Israel’s former president, Shimon Peres.

President Rivlin welcomed HRH the Duke of Cambridge on his arrival saying: “It is a great honour and privilege to welcome you to Israel, to Jerusalem. This land knows a lot about history, today you are writing a new page in history. Many kings and princes have visited Jerusalem of the years, and you come not just as a prince but as a pilgrim to the Holy Land.”

The President explained to HRH the Duke of Cambridge, about his childhood under the British Mandate and of his experience over the years, “Your Royal Highness, I was born as a British subject. I walked to school every day down King George Street, but also past King David Street. We were here 100 years even before the Balfour Declaration, a declaration which helped the People of Israel, the Jewish people from all around the world bring to reality the idea and the belief that the Jewish people have to return to their homeland.”

The President continued, “We really appreciate the connection and the cooperation between our two states; the cooperation, the trade between us, and the friendship.” The President went on note that the HRH the Duke was do to also meet with Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and asked that the Duke convey to him that, “It is about time that we have to find together the way to build confidence as a first step to bringing an end to the tragedy between us that has gone one for more that 100 years.”

The President went on to stress the importance of the freedom of worship in Israel. He said, “Israel is very proud of the freedom of worship for all those of faith. Jews, Christians, and Muslims are not doomed to live together, we are destined to live together.”

The President added with a smile, “Israel kept many of the British customs and laws from the Mandate, but we did not manage to keep the same level of British football. I know you are a fan of Aston Villa, and I am a fan of Liverpool, but we can still talk about that during the World Cup.”

The President concluded by asking that HRH the Duke to convey his warmest greetings to Her Majesty the Queen, his father HRH Prince Charles, the Royal Family, and all the British people.

HRH Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, thanked the President for his words and said, “Thank you for the warm welcome. It is my first visit to Israel and I am obviously looking forward to getting to meet as many Israelis as possible, and understanding Israeli history and Israeli culture over the next few days.”

He added, “I had a very moving tour around Yad Vashem this morning, which really taught me quite a lot more than I thought I knew about the true horrors of what happened to the Jews during the war, and I very much appreciate the time everyone gave to show me around the museum.”

He stressed, “I, like you, look forward to understanding lots about the region and hope that peace in the area can be achieved.”

HRH the Duke concluded by saying, “I am very much looking forward to really absorbing and understanding the different issues, the different cultures, the different religions, culminating in a visit, which will be very symbolic and very interesting in the Old City on Thursday which I am very much looking forward to seeing.”

The President and HRH the Duke went on to hold an extended discussion, after which the two went out into the Presidential Garden which boasts many plants and trees from the Land of Israel, many planted by visiting dignitaries in Israel. After which, HRH the Duke signed the official guest book of the President’s Residence.

The President once again thanked HRH the Duke for his visit, and presented him with a moving and historic gift from the archives of the Yad Ben-Zvi Museum. In the presence of the original, the President presented him with a copy of an album of photographs taken between 1850 and 1865 by Elizabeth Ann Finn, wife of the then British Consul in Jerusalem. During this period, HRH Prince Edward – who went on to be King Edward VII – HRH the Duke of Cambridge’s great-great-great-grandfather visited the Holy Land. The album included pictures of the Prince’s visit in 1862, and a moving description of the welcome he received as published in the Magid Newspaper in an article written by President Rivlin’s great-grandfather, Yosef Rivlin, one of the leaders of the Jewish community in the Holy Land.

Presenting the gift to HRH the Duke, the President said, “One day you will be King of England, and I hope you will visit Israel once again, with your wife and children, and be able to fill for yourselves an album of happy memories in this land.”

HRH the Duke presented the President with a Liverpool FC shirt, signed by club legend and former team captain Steven Gerrard. The President thanked His Royal Highness warmly for the gift, before walking him to his car as he departed the President’s Residence.


One Response to “The Prince and the President”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    Actually in the future he will be more then just “King of England”.

    After Queen Elizabeth 11 and King Charlies 111 die the future King William V with not only be King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (not just England) but also Head (as at 2018) of 16 commonwealth countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Papua New Guinea. The other countries are mostly in the Caribbean and the South Pacific.

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