William Lands in Israel, Makes History

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Today the Duke of Cambridge made history when he became the first member of the British Royal Family to make an official visit to Israel. But before he did that, he carried out a full day of engagements in Jordan, following up on Day One of his Middle Eastern tour.

The day began in Jerash, the site of first century Roman ruins. It is here at which the semi-famous photograph of the Duchess of Cambridge with her father and sister as a child was taken. Organizers thoughtfully set out a blown-up version of the picture at the exact site at which it was taken in the 1980s and William duly posed for a photo.

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He noted that Kate was apparently upset to miss out on this particular tour, having loved her time in Amman as a child. Well, I’m missing her on this tour, too, if it helps – not that William isn’t lovely all by himself, but it’s always a bit more fun to capture the Cambridges, or even William and Harry, interacting with one another during engagements like this. He did remark that they would have to bring their children back, and so fingers crossed!

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At the site, William met with beneficiaries of the Makani program, supported by UNICEF. A worldwide charity, in this case their efforts are on behalf of the 655,000 Syrian refugees that Jordan has welcome into their borders over the last several years.

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Then it was up north to visit a new base for the Quick Reaction Force (QRF), which has been formed with British military support.

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From there, it was on to the Dar Na’mah Centre – a project of the Princess Taghrid Institute. The institute is a charity set up by Princess Taghrid to support women in developing their own financial independence, particularly crucial in this region when the women are without familial support.

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Today, William met with women who were orphaned or abandoned by their parents.

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Then it was back to Amman where HRH visited AlQuds College and met with Jordanian, Syrian refugee and British students. The latter batch come via a partnership the school has with Middlesex University. And for me the highlight of this engagement is almost certainly this photo:

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On the airport to wrap up Jordan, William fit in one last engagement meeting with the air ambulance pilots, which is, how they say, “on brand” for him.

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His arrival in Tel Aviv and then his travel to Jerusalem is certainly what drove headlines today and it’s a big moment – for William and for the BRF. He has yet to carry out engagements there yet – that will come tomorrow – but Jerusalem and the King David hotel will serve as home base for remainder of his trip and there are some key moments coming up, from the unannounced engagement, to visiting his great-grandmother’s grave, among many others.

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Tomorrow is going to be a brutal day for me on this end, unfortunately, so while I’m going to do my best to cover the third day, as well the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s planned engagement, they will come late in the day – and it’s possible one will have to wait until Wednesday. My apologies in advance. To hold you over, KP did announce details on Harry and Meghan’s upcoming trip to Ireland, so enjoy those here!


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