Royal Assent: Prince Charles to Make First State Visit to Israel

prince charles
Abir Sultan/Pool via AP

Prince Charles will pay his first official state visit to Israel in January to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.

The Prince of Wales’s office confirmed Wednesday he would attend the World Holocaust Forum at the invitation of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on January 23.

In addition to the British royal, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and the presidents of Germany, Italy and Austria will be attending the event titled “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism.”

This is the first official visit to Israel by the heir to the British throne. He has previously visited Israel for the funerals of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and former president Shimon Peres, both key figures in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

On both those occasions he also visited the grave of his grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, at the Church of Mary Magdalene, adjacent to the Mount of Olives. After the first visit he released images of the occasion:

Princess Alice died in 1969 and her remains lay at first in St George’s Chapel, Windsor. But she wished to be buried at the Russian orthodox convent on the Mount of Olives, near her aunt Elizabeth, the Grand Duchess of Russia, who was murdered by the Bolsheviks and declared a Russian Orthodox saint.

The Royal family has refrained from visiting the site in the past due to its location in the eastern part of Jerusalem, to remain neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Her son Prince Philip however came to Israel in 1994 on his own to privately visit the grave. Princess Alice, who gave shelter to Jews in Nazi-occupied Athens, was recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous among the Nations.

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