An historic state visit to Israel by Prince Charles has reportedly been cancelled by UK Foreign Office officials worried that it might upset Arab nations in the region.
The London Sun reported Sunday that the heir to the throne will not visit Israel this autumn for a trip that was planned to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. According to the newspaper, insiders say the controversial trip has now been binned.
Prince Charles was also set to pay respects to 16,000 British and Commonwealth troops who died during the Palestine Campaign in 1917.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin extended the original invitation in Jerusalem last May during a meeting with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, as reported by Breitbart Jerusalem.
“This is a very important year in the history of the relations between Israel and the United Kingdom,” Mr. Rivlin said. “We will mark 100 years since the Balfour Declaration and I am greatly honoured to extend an official invitation to the royal family to visit Israel to mark this event.”
The Sun reports the Royal Visits Committee, the branch of the Foreign Office that coordinates trips on behalf of the Royal family, dropped the visit “to avoid upsetting Arab nations in the region who regularly host UK Royals.”
The report said Rivlin’s invitation never reached the office of Prince Charles.
The UK Foreign Office denied a visit had ever been planned, in a statement to the Times of Israel.
“Her Majesty’s Government makes decisions on Royal Visits based on recommendations from the Royal Visits Committee, taking into account advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Committee never proposed a royal visit to Israel for 2017. Plans for 2018 will be announced in due course,” a spokesperson said.
The Sun quoted Colonel Richard Kemp – a long-time supporter of Israel – slamming the Foreign Office as “camel corps” who were “pandering” to Arab dictators by nixing the trip.
Royals have visited Israel in a personal capacity in the past, but never for a state visit, despite both nations being close allies.
Prince Charles visited Jerusalem last October to attend the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres.
As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, Prince Charles took that opportunity to visit his grandmother’s final resting place in Jerusalem, taking fresh flowers from his garden at Birkhall to lay in her honour.
Prince Charles paid his respects at the crypt of the Duke of Edinburgh’s mother, Princess Alice of Greece.
Princess Alice is buried at the picturesque Church of St. Mary Magdalene, above the Garden of Gethsemane, on the Mount of Olives. The Prince’s trip was made in secret and went unreported until a number of photos surfaced on social media accounts of people working with the church.