Prince William visits Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem

Prince William visits Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem
UK Prince William is winding down his Middle East tour with visits to holy sites in Jerusalem, and his great grandmother's grave
2 min read
28 June, 2018
Prince William has visited the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem [Anadolu]

Prince William is closing his Middle East tour with a visit to Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem on Thursday.

William toured the al-Aqsa Mosque - the third holiest site in Islam - becoming the first British royal to visit the politically-sensitive compound.

Al-Aqsa is famed for its golden dome, but has also been a flashpoint in tensions in the divided city.

Israeli extremists periodically invading the space - known as the Dome of the Rock by Muslims and Temple Mount by Jews - which is considered sacred by Jews, Muslims and Christians.

William visited the Western Wall - a place where Jewish worshippers are allowed to pray - accompanied by the UK's Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

There he left a dedication that read: "May the God of peace bless this region and all the world with peace."

The prince then headed to the Old City's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried.

William also laid flowers on the grave of his great-grandmother Alice, who is buried at the Church of St Magdalene in the city.

William's visit has not been without controversy. During a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the prince made a comment that likely angered Israel.

"I am very glad that our two countries work so closely together and have had success stories with education and relief work in the past," he told Abbas.

Prince William also reportedly refused to meet Israel's Jerusalem mayor Nir Birkat due political tensions in the divided city.

Israel illegally annexed Palestinian east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967 and claim the whole city as its undivided capital - something not recognised by the international community.

Instead William offered to meet Brikat in Tel Aviv, the city which the UK and most other countries in the world regard as the capital of Israel.

Prince William's tour has seen him visit Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and Jordan.

The visit has seen Prince William warmly welcomed by Israelis and Palestinians alike.

British royals have boycotted visits to Israel and the Palestinian Territories until the conflict between the two sides is resolved, making William the first member of the royal family to tour the holy land.

Agencies contributed to this story.