The Duke of Cambridge officially kicked off his Middle Eastern visit today when he touched down in Amman, Jordan. Over the next four days, William will tour Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, marking the first time a member of the British Royal Family has formally visited the latter two. It’s a historic trip, and it’s notable that the representative sent on behalf of the Queen is her grandson and not, say, the Prince of Wales as might be expected.
William was met at the airport by Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein, the eldest son of King Abdullah II and Queen Rania. Days away from his 24th birthday, Hussein is not yet married and a solid 12 years younger than William, however based on the succession he is in fact Charles’s peer and has been Crown Prince since 2009.
The two men embarked on the first engagement of William’s trip, which was a visit to the Crown Prince Foundation where they undertook a tour of a “FabLab” at Al-Hussein Technical University that encourages young people to explore advanced technology.
The two men watched a demonstration and had the opportunity to meet with staff and students.
Update: William’s first evening in Amman saw him attend the Queen’s Birthday at the British Ambassador’s Residence. Held outside in the house’s beautiful garden, William delivered a speech that referenced both the Queen’s 1984 visit to Jordan, as well as the fact that his wife lived there as a child.
A surprise twist came later in the evening when William watched England’s World Cup match with Hussein at Hussein’s home, where William is staying. I love the informality of the photos of the two men watching the game, from the hilarious white hand chair to Hussein’s t-shirt.
The camaraderie between them appears genuine, which always adds a nice layer of fun to these trips. Tomorrow William will take in Jerash and then it’s off to Tel Aviv, so I’ll see you back here then!
As a quick update on the rest of the RF from the week, William’s 36th birthday was on Thursday. By all accounts, the Cambridges have been in London – Prince George and Princess Charlotte were spotted playing in Kensington Gardens, while William has been carrying out a regular cadence of engagements. The Duchess, of course, is still on maternity leave, though KP did announce that Prince Louis’s christening will be held on Monday, July 9 at St James’s Chapel, the same venue at which George was christened in 2013.
As for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they have two new engagements on the horizon before their mini-tour of Dublin next month. On Tuesday the couple will support the Queen with her awards series in London, while next Thursday (July 5) will see them undertake an engagement related to Harry’s role as the Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.