Prince William begins historic five-day tour of Middle East

Elias Hubbard
June 25, 2018

Luckily his new friend the crown prince was happy to record the match, and the pair were able to watch England's 6-1 win in comfort. William is president of Britain's Football Association and an avid supporter of the Aston Villa football club.

Official visits by British royals take place at the request of the United Kingdom government, but statements from the prince's household have given little explanation for the timing of this trip. There, they met with young men and women including students from Al-Hussein Technical University, "which works with industry experts and businesses to deliver a STEM-based curriculum", the Foundation explained.

The duke even pressed a button to start a laser cutter which produced the design, but before it sprang into action he spotted the Villa crest on the machine and said: "That's familiar".

At a reception later Sunday marking the birthday of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, he praised Jordan's resilience as it absorbed waves of refugees over the decades.

Saying Jordan should be "enormously proud" of opening its borders to those fleeing Syria, he said the country's "longstanding commitments to Palestinian refugees" was "remarkable".

On Tuesday, Prince William will attend a demonstration on local innovation at the U.K. Ambassador's official residence in the greater Tel Aviv metropolitan area, where he will hear from representatives of ReWalk Robotics Ltd., a company developing a robotic exoskeleton that enables people with spinal cord injury to stand and walk.

William's wife, the former Kate Middleton, spent two years in Jordan as a toddler when her father moved the family there during a work assignment.

"Catherine's experience is not unique".

The Duke of Cambridge was greeted by Crown Prince Hussein, the son of Jordan's King Abdullah II, at the airport in Jordan's capital, Amman.

Other members of William's family - including his father Prince Charles - have made unofficial visits to Israel and east Jerusalem in the past.

The visit will have been carefully choreographed to allow the prince to spend equal time with both Israelis and Palestinians, but it won't stop every part of his five-day trip from being heavily scrutinised.

The visit comes at a particularly volatile time after US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as capital of Israel and moved Washington's embassy there, sparking Arab outrage and deadly clashes. Israel considers the eastern sector, home to sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, as an inseparable part of its capital.

In the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah he is also down to meet Palestinian refugees and youths.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said she welcomes William's visit to the West Bank as a chance to see Palestinian reality under Israeli occupation first hand.

"Over the next five days The Duke will visit Jordan, Israel, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories - and is looking forward to building a real and enduring relationship with the people of the region", Kensington Palace tweeted as William set out for Jordan. Britain's withdrawal from the region after World War II facilitated the eventual establishment of Israel and Jordan.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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