Prince William Concludes Royal Visit to Israel at Western Wall
AP and United with Israel
“May the God of peace bless this region and all the world with peace” Prine William wrote in the note he placed in the Kotel.
Prince William concluded his historic tour of the Holy Land with a visit to the Kotel, the Western Wall, in the heart of Jerusalem Old City.
The Duke of Cambridge toured Jerusalem’s holy sites on Thursday and paid a pilgrimage to the tomb of his great-grandmother on the final day of his royal visit to the Middle East.
Prince William began his visit with a lookout of the Old City from the Mount of Olives. He then visited the nearby gravesite of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice, who saved Jews in the Holocaust and whose last wishes were to have her remains buried in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene above the Garden of Gethsemane.
The prince stood solemnly by his great-grandmother’s grave, accompanied by a Russian Orthodox clergyman. He was then given several gifts by the clergy, including a bouquet of flowers and a cross. With the homage, William followed in the footsteps of his father Charles, the Prince of Wales, and grandfather Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who had also visited Princess Alice’s grave.
From the church, Prince William was taken to visit a trio of key religious sites before departing home to London. Prince William said he was particularly looking forward to the Old City visit, which included stops at the the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
‘A Moment of History’
At the Western Wall, he was accompanied by the site’s Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz. Donning a black skullcap, he placed his right hand on the ancient stones and then, following tradition, slipped a note inside its cracks.
He signed the guestbook with the following passage: “May the God of peace bless this region and all the world with peace.”
“Today we experienced a moment of history which will live long in the memory of Jews around the world,” said Chief Rabbi of Great Britain Ephraim Mirvis, who accompanied the prince on his visit. “The Western Wall stands at the epicenter of our faith. To see the future monarch come to pay his respects was a remarkable gesture of friendship and a sign of the Duke’s regard for the sanctity of Jerusalem.”
Crowds of onlookers followed his every move as the prince made his way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The 36-year-old William, second in line to the throne, has already visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and met Israelis from all walks of life, from the beaches and promenades of Tel Aviv to demonstrations of high-tech entrepreneurs to swanky receptions with celebrities and politicians.