Charles to mark Auschwitz liberation during official Middle East tour

The Prince of Wales will honour those who died in the Holocaust during his first official tour of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Charles’ tour – the highest level visit by a member of the monarchy to Israel and the Palestinian areas – will mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The heir to the throne will deliver a speech at the World Holocaust Forum being staged at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem, joining around 40 world leaders including US vice president Mike Pence, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The prince has been invited to the major event by Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin and he will meet the statesman as he begins his two-day visit to the holy land.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has invited Charles to visit the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Charles will also visit Bethlehem and sit down for talks with Mr Abbas.

Scott Furssedonn-Wood, the princes’ deputy private secretary, said about the World Holocaust Forum: “The prince is honoured to be among the small number of international leaders who have been invited to address the event and have the opportunity on behalf of the United Kingdom to honour the memory of all those who were lost in the Holocaust.”

Charles’ visit has added significance as the Queen has never made an official visit to Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories during her 67-year reign.

The ministerial jet Voyager is believed to be undergoing scheduled maintenance and Charles has travelled by chartered plane to the Middle East.

Mr Furssedonn-Wood said: “We always look at a range of options, we take a number of factors into account when we decide how to travel, we weigh up things like cost of course with environmental impact as you’d expect, but also efficiency of time, size of delegation and crucially safety and security.”

During his first day in the Holy Land Charles will also meet Holocaust survivors and be joined by the UK’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

Charles is also likely to pay his respects at the resting place of his grandmother Princess Alice of Battenberg in Jerusalem’s Church of St Mary Magdalene.

The Duke of Cambridge with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in 2018
The Duke of Cambridge with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in 2018 (Chris Jackson/PA)

She was honoured by the Jewish people for hiding and saving the lives of Jews in Nazi-occupied Athens during the Second World War.

The heir to the throne’s forthcoming visit will follow one made by his son the Duke of Cambridge who toured Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 2018.

Charles has travelled to Jerusalem to attend the funerals of President Shimon Peres in 2016 and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

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