Prince William was in Israel for a three-day tour that featured visits to several holy sites, some of which were personal to his family. On the final day of the Duke of Cambridge’s visit, he was able to put a piece of paper in the Western Wall and say a prayer, and also paid his respect to Prince Philip’s mother’s burial place.
People Magazine says that Prince William got to visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial to honor his great-grandmother, Princess Alice who was celebrated as one of “The Righteous Among the Nations” for her work protecting Jewish families from the Nazis. Prince William wore a yarmulke, or Jewish head covering as a sign of respect.
Princess Alice of Battenberg and Greece is called a “Righteous Gentile” for her efforts during the war. She is buried in a Russian Orthodox crypt near Jerusalem, says the Times of Israel. Philippe Cohen, a descendant of the Cohen family, wanted Prince William to know that they owe the princess a debt of gratitude.
“We all owe our existence to the courage of Princess Alice. Prince William was very proud to know that his great-grandmother had saved our whole family.”
In the past, Prince Philip, her son has explained that his mother was a woman of faith.
“I suspect that it never occurred to her that her action was in any way special. She was a person with deep religious faith and she would have considered it to be a totally human action to fellow human beings in distress.”
Prince William also went to the Western Wall to say a prayer and insert a scroll into the cracks of the wall. He left a message in the Western Heritage Foundation guestbook, said the Jerusalem Post.
“May the God of peace bless this region and all the world with peace.”
Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, was visiting Israel as part of the celebration for the country’s 70th birthday.
Prince William met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“This region has a complicated and tragic history. In the past century, the people of the Middle East have suffered great sadness and loss. Never has hope and reconciliation been more needed. I know I share a desire with all of you, and with your neighbors, for a just and lasting peace.”
In addition to the serious matters at hand, Prince William had the opportunity to kick a soccer ball around on the beach and meet both Israeli and Palestinian children. During his visit to the Western Wall, Prince William was also able to observe a British boy do the prayers for his Bar Mitzvah.