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Report: First British royal visit to Israel expected this year

March 8, 2017 13:39

Israeli president asked visiting UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to relay the invitation to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration on Wednesday.

Britain's Johnson starts visit to Israel and the West Bank (credit: REUTERS)

A member of the British royal family will make an official state visit to Israel for the first time ever later this year, The Independent reported Friday.

Members of the UK's most famous family have historically rejected official state visits to Israel, instead opting to sojourn to the Holy Land in a personal capacity or attend funerals.

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It remains unclear which royal will make the trip, with The Independent speculating that the most likely candidate to be Charles, the Prince of Wales, following his visit last year to attend the burial of late president Shimon Peres. The Independent added that Queen Elizabeth would most likely skip the trip due to health concerns.

A spokesperson for the royal family told The Independent that they could not confirm whether the prince would be visiting Israel

The Israel embassy in London also declined to comment on the matter.

The reported announcement came shortly after President Reuven Rivlin extended an invitation to the British royal family through UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson earlier in the week.

The president asked the visiting UK Foreign Minister to relay the invitation to the monarchs to mark the upcoming centennial anniversary of the 1917 Balfour Deceleration, which expressed the British government's support for a Jewish homeland in Holy Land.

"This is a very important year in the history of the relations between Israel and the United Kingdom," Rivlin said in a meeting in Jerusalem with Johnson. "We will mark 100 years since the Balfour Declaration and I am greatly honored to extend an official invitation to the Royal family to visit Israel to mark this event."

President Rivlin meets UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. (Mark Neiman/GPO)

The meeting between Rivlin and Johnson was the first in a series of meetings scheduled during the UK diplomat's one-day trip to Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Johnson arrived in Jerusalem on Tuesday for his first working visit to the region in his current role. Johnson attended former president Shimon Peres's funeral in September and in 2015 visited Israel as mayor of London.

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  • Israel
  • united kingdom
  • reuven rivlin
  • Britain
  • Queen Elizabeth
  • Balfour Declaration
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