On the first day of his historic visit to Israel, United Kingdom’s Prince William visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial where he honored his great-grandmother who rescued a Jewish family during the Holocaust.
The Duke of Cambridge laid a wreath at the Hall of Remembrance and toured the Holocaust History Museum and the Museum of Holocaust Art.
“The actions of those few, who took great risks to help others, are a reminder of the human capacity for love and hope. I am honoured that my own great grandmother is one of these Righteous Among the Nations,” he wrote in the museum’s guestbook.
The prince is the first British royal to make an official visit to the State of Israel since the end of the British Mandate. Israeli officials hope William’s visit signifies more amicable relations between the two nations.
No official reason has been given for the decision now to send a member of the royal family on a diplomatic mission.
On behalf of the British government, the prince will be meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He will also meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah while here. William will also attend a soccer match in Jaffa with both Israeli and Palestinian children.
His trip is part of a five-day tour of the Middle East which included a stop in Jordan prior to coming to Israel.
On the last day of his trip William will also visit Princess Alice’s grave on the Mount of Olives. The princess requested to be buried in Jerusalem. She died in 1969 but her remains were only moved to Jerusalem in 1988.
According to Yad Vashem, Princess Alice “hid the three members of the Cohen family – Rachel, Tilda and Michelle – in her palace in Athens during the Nazi occupation of Greece.”
“Princess Alice personally saw to it that the members of the persecuted Jewish family had everything they needed, and even visited them in their hiding place, spending many hours in their company,” Yad Vashem said adding that the Cohen family is alive today, thanks to her.
Some members of the royal family have made private trips to the Holy Land. Prince Charles, William’s father, attended the funerals of late President Shimon Peres’ in 2016 and late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1994. Also in 1994 Prince Philip and his sister Princess Sophie attended a Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial ceremony honoring their mother.