LONDON (Reuters) - Queen Elizabeth’s grandson Prince William will visit Israel and the Palestinian territories this summer, his office announced on Thursday, the first official visit by a senior member of Britain’s royal family.
Both Israeli and Palestinian officials welcomed the trip, which also includes Jordan, on behalf of the British government by William, second-in-line to the British throne.
“We welcome the announcement that Prince William will be coming to Israel. It is a historic visit, the first of its kind, and he will be received here with great enthusiasm,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s office said it was an important visit “which we hope will contribute to strengthening ties of friendship between the two peoples”.
No further details of the visit were given by William’s office but he is likely to make the trip alone as his wife is due to give birth to the couple’s third child in April.
Queen Elizabeth’s cousins the Duke of Kent and the Duke of Gloucester visited Israel in 1998 and 2007, while William’s father Prince Charles attended the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres in 2016.
However, no senior British royal has made an official state visit to the Palestinian territories or Israel, which marks its 70th anniversary of independence from British Mandatory rule this year.
“It is a symbolic event, and even if the prince is not a political figure, the eyes of the entire world will be turned toward the Middle East during his visit to the region,” said YNet, the Hebrew-language Israeli news site.
Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Hugh Lawson