King Charles 'may visit Israel', UK ambassador says

King Charles 'may visit Israel', UK ambassador says
The UK's ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan has expressed hope that King Charles may visit the country, saying he was 'fascinated' by a previous trip in January 2020.
2 min read
21 September, 2022
The UK monarchy rarely comments on matters related to politics [Getty]

The UK's ambassador to Israel said he is optimistic about the prospect of newly-proclaimed King Charles III making an official trip to Israel.

Ambassador Neil Wigan, who was in London for Queen Elizabeth II's funeral, said that King Charles had shown friendship to Israel.

"It’s true that the Queen never visited Israel, but King Charles has visited several times as prince and was received by President Isaac Herzog very cordially," he told Israel Hayom.

Royal observers have claimed Queen Elizabeth II participated in an "unofficial boycott" of Israel, saying she had never visited despite travelling to over 120 countries over her 70-year reign.

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She was reported to have described a map showing illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank as 'depressing' during a visit to Jordan in 1984.

The late monarch also heard the sounds of Israeli warplanes over the occupied West Bank during her visit and referred to them as 'frightening'.

"Will Charles visit Israel now as King? We very much hope so, but cannot guarantee that it will happen. He has to decide on his [foreign] visit plans and has an obligation to Commonwealth countries such as Canada and Australia," said Wigan.

During his visit to Jerusalem in January 2020, the then-prince "was fascinated by the Dead Sea Scrolls" at the Israel Museum, according to Wigan.

"The subject of the Holocaust is also very important to him, and he has friends who are survivors. I saw how moved he was when he met Auschwitz survivors. I don’t know how deeply the royal family is involved in Israeli politics, but they do have a great interest in Israel in general, so I’m optimistic."

The UK monarchy rarely publicly comments on matters related to politics, but Charles has expressed pro-Palestinian sentiments before.

In 1986, Charles wrote a letter to a friend in which he expressed frustration at the Israeli lobby's political power in the United States. The letter appeared in 2017.

He blamed the tensions between Tel Aviv and the Arab world on an "influx of foreign, European Jews" to Israel, following a trip to the Gulf with then-wife Princess Diana.

"Surely some US president has to have the courage to stand up and take on the Jewish lobby in US? ... I must be naive, I suppose."

However, a spokesperson for Charles said his letter was merely repeating views he heard during his visit to the region.