On eve of Israel visit, Prince William watches World Cup in Jordan

The UK’s Prince William and Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein watched a soccer match and toured ruins in Jordan together. 

By: AP and World Israel News Staff

Britain’s Prince William on Monday toured the ruins of the Roman city of Jerash and met with children, including Syrian refugees, from a UN-run education program on the second day of a five-day Mideast tour that will also take him to Israel and the Palestinian-run territories.

The 36-year-old William was accompanied by Crown Prince Hussein, 23, with whom he watched England’s World Cup match against Panama at his host’s residence late on Sunday.

William, an avid soccer fan, arrived in Jordan on Sunday afternoon, when the England-Panama game was underway. Hussein recorded it for him, and the two watched it later Sunday on a huge TV screen at the crown prince’s residence. England thrashed Panama 6-1, advancing to the second round.

Before settling down to soccer, William spoke at a garden reception at the British Embassy, praising Britain’s historic ties with Jordan and the kingdom’s commitment to hosting Syrian and Palestinian refugees.

The ruins of Jerash are one of Jordan’s main tourist attractions. During the Roman era, it was once home to a small Jewish community.

William’s wife, the former Kate Middleton, visited the archaeological site as a child when her father worked for British Airways and the family lived in Jordan for close to three years in the 1980s. A Middleton family photo shows Kate in Jerash with her father and younger sister Pippa.

The prince has said the Middletons have fond memories of their time in Jordan and that Kate was sorry she couldn’t join him on the trip to the kingdom. Kate gave birth in April to the couple’s third child, Louis.

Eyes Toward Jerusalem

It’s a high-profile, politically delicate foreign trip for William, second in line to the throne, and comes at a time of tension in Israel.

He will be the first member of the royal family to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority in an official capacity, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will loom large, despite the ceremonial nature of the visit. That part of his Mideast trip begins later on Monday.