The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, will make an official trip to Israel, the first-ever by a member of the royal family, as part of a tour of the region this summer.
“The Duke of Cambridge will visit Israel, Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the Summer,” Kensington Palace said on Twitter.
“The visit is at the request of Her Majesty’s Government and has been welcomed by the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian authorities,” the statement added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the visit by William, who is second in line for the throne, would be “historic.”
“We welcome the announcement of Prince William’s visit to Israel. This is an historic visit, the first of its kind, and he will be welcomed here with great affection. I have instructed the Foreign Ministry Director General to coordinate the preparations for the visit to ensure its success.”
Similarly, President Reuven Rivlin, who has issued several invitations to the royal family to come to Israel, said he was “happy” to hear of their planned visit. “A very special guest, and a very special present for our 70th year of independence,” Rivlin said on Twitter.
Despite the United Kingdom being one of Israel’s top allies in Europe, the royal family has never made an official trip to Israel, which has long angered Israeli leaders, with reports suggesting the royals have wanted to avoid upsetting its Arab allies.
However, with Israel’s ties with the Arab world warming in recent years, the visit by William may be a sign that this may no longer be a concern.
Nevertheless, Prince Charles has visited Israel on unofficial trips, attending the funerals of both Shimon Peres in 2016 and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994. His father, Prince Philip, also visited Israel in 1994 to attend a ceremony commemorating his mother, Alice of Battenberg, who is buried on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives.