Prince Charles thanks, celebrates UK Jewry

Prince Charles described the links between the British monarchy and the country's Jewish community, which he described as something special.

Prince Charles (photo credit: REUTERS)
Prince Charles
(photo credit: REUTERS)
While things may be tense for Jews in the UK at the moment, Prince Charles did his best to assuage these fears in his speech Thursday night at Buckingham Palace's pre-Hanukkah reception.
"It is a great delight to welcome you this evening to Buckingham Palace, as the festival of Hanukkah approaches, and to celebrate with you the contribution of our Jewish community to the health, wealth and happiness of the United Kingdom," the Prince of Wales said.
"In every walk of life, in every field of endeavor, our nation could have had no more generous citizens, and no more faithful friends. That is why I am so glad to have this opportunity to say thank you, albeit in a small way, for all that you do, and have done, across the country, in major national and international institutions, and in local communities the length and breadth of the land."
The prince went on to describe how he views the United Kingdom as "a community of communities," and described his recent trips and efforts to accommodate the country's Catholic and Sikh citizens.
This time of year, he explained, is an important time for Christians and Jews alike, making it the perfect time to celebrate "the importance of unity through diversity [that] sits at the very heart of our values as a society."
Prince Charles described the links between the British monarchy and the country's Jewish community, which he described as something special.
"I say this from a particular and personal perspective, because I have grown up being deeply touched by the fact that British synagogues have, for centuries, remembered my family in your weekly prayers," he explained. "And as you remember my family, so we too remember and celebrate you."
He would also describe many of the notable Jews that were important throughout British history, such as Sir Solomon de Medina, the first Jewish knight; Benjamin Disraeli, the Jewish prime minister; and Sir Moses Montifiore, who was famous for his activism and protection of Jews abroad.
However, he added that "I am thinking not just of the most prominent members of our Jewish community who, through the ages, have literally transformed this country for the better. I am thinking also, crucially, of those who are not household names, but who are the cornerstones of their own local communities. They are the people who, I am delighted to say, make up the larger part of this evening’s guest list and to whom I want to offer particular gratitude."
The prince also touted the close connection Jews have to members of his own family, such as his grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, who is counted as one of the Righteous Among the Nations and is buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
This, he explained, has led to Britain providing "a home where the Jewish community can thrive."
"If I may say so, Ladies and Gentlemen, I see this as the least I can do to try to repay, in some small way, the immense blessings the Jewish people have brought to this land and, indeed, to humanity," he continued.
The prince then quoted Deuteronomy's exhortation, "Choose life!"
"The Jewish community of the United Kingdom have fulfilled that divine command in countless ways, and our society has been immeasurably enriched as a result," he concluded. "Today, we have the opportunity to give thanks for the friendship we have forged, and the values we all share."