Prince Charles visits a Jerusalem Mosque on tour of the Middle East
24th January 2020

Prince Charles meets President Mahmoud Abbas after visiting the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem during his first historic visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories

  • Prince of Wales began historic first visit to Occupied Palestinian Territories 
  • Prince Charles, 71, arrived in Manger Square, to tour Bethlehem today
  • The royal is on his second day of his two day tour of Palestine and Israel
  • Charles visited the Mosque of Omart and the Church of the Nativity
  • Met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the official residence in Bethlehem

The Prince of Wales began an historic first visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories by touring Jerusalem and Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ, before meeting the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today.

Prince Charles, 71, arrived in Manger Square, the old Ottoman marketplace in the centre of the settlement, and was barely visible surrounded by police officers and a large entourage of dignitaries.

The royal then met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the official residence in Bethlehem, shaking his hand before sitting down for an official photocall and chat.

His visit to Bethlehem was not announced in advance and he appeared at ease with the crowd around him as he walked into the Mosque of Omar.

The mosque is opposite the Church of the Nativity which contains a grotto said to be the site where Jesus was born.

Prince Charles met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the official residence in Bethlehem, shaking his hand before sitting down for an official photocall and chat

The meeting took place on the second day of his two-day visit to Palestine and Israel, after he toured Bethlehem and Jerusalem earlier in the day

The Prince of Wales began an historic first visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories by touring Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ today, visiting the Mosque of Omar

The mosque is opposite the Church of the Nativity (pictured) which contains a grotto said to be the site where Jesus was born

The Prince of Wales during an ecumenical service at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on the second day of his visit

The heir to the throne was joined by Anton Salman, Mayor of Bethlehem, Palestine, and Kamel Hmeid, Governor of Bethlehem, as he toured the Islamic place of worship.

Prince Charles looked in good spirits as he arrived at the Mosque of Omar in Jerusalem on the second day of his two-day trip to the Middle East on Friday.

The royal then visited then visited the place of Jesus’ birth inside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

The Prince of Wales is on a two day trip to the Middle East, meeting with the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin, Holocaust survivors and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. 

His visit to Bethlehem was not announced in advance and he appeared at ease with the crowd around him as he walked into the Mosque of Omar

Britain’s Prince Charles shakes hands with people as he arrives to visit Omar mosque in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank of Palestine

The Manger inside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on the second day of the Prince of Wales’ visit

Charles was seen putting on a friendly display as he shook hands with people as he arrives to visit Omar mosque in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank of Palestine.

His appearance came after he gave a speech during a Holocaust memorial ceremony attended by some 40 world leaders in Jerusalem on the first day of his visit.

Charles paid homage to his grandmother, Princess Alice, for sheltering Jews in Nazi-occupied Greece during World War II, on Thursday. 

Princess Alice of Battenberg and Greece was the mother-in-law of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. A devout Christian, she died in London in 1969 and had asked to be buried in Jerusalem, next to her aunt, who like Alice had become a nun and founded a convent. 

Pictured: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales arrives at the Mosque of Omar in Jerusalem,

Charles’ tour – the highest level visit by a member of the monarchy to Israel and the Palestinian areas – marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau 

Prince Charles meets with Palestinian Muslim clerics outside Bethlehem’s Omar Ben al-Khattab mosque

The Prince of Wales (second left) is shown the manger during a visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on the second day of his visit

The Prince of Wales (centre) during a visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on the second day of his visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories

Prince Charles (C) signs the guest book during his visit to Omar mosque in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank

During his speech Prince Charles also urged nations to learn the ‘lessons’ of the Holocaust as he joined world leaders, amid the continued conflict of the Israel occupied Palestinian territories. 

Charles’ tour – the highest level visit by a member of the monarchy to Israel and the Palestinian areas – marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The heir to the throne’s visit follows one made by his son the Duke of Cambridge who toured Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 2018.

Charles has travelled to Jerusalem to attend the funerals of President Shimon Peres in 2016 and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

Prince Charles (L) visits the compound of the Church of the Nativity

Children wait for the arrival of Britain’s Charles, Prince of Wales in Manger Square in Bethlehem

Pictured: Prince Charles visits the Mosque of Omar in Bethlehem

Charles has travelled to Jerusalem to attend the funerals of President Shimon Peres in 2016 and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 – he is seen at the Church of Nativity

WHAT DO PEOPLE BELIEVE ABOUT THE TRADITIONAL BIRTHPLACE OF JESUS?

The Church of the Nativity, located six miles (10 km) outside of Jerusalem, is one of the most important religious sites in the world.

It has been recognised as the birthplace of Jesus since at least the Second Century and has been listed as a Unesco world heritage site since 2012.

The original church was built in 339 AD, but was rebuilt after fire in the 6th century and it is one of the oldest churches in the world still in daily use. 

An estimated two million people make pilgrimages to the site each year to visit the church and the shrine below, the Grotto, where Jesus of Nazareth is believed to have been born.

But the region is of key importance to other religions as well. Almost 1,000 years before Jesus, Bethlehem was the city of King David. 

Today, the site in Bethlehem is part of a large religious complex.

Set in the marble floor of the Grotto is a silver star which represents the spot where Jesus was born, installed in 1717 and surrounded by lamps to represent the different Christian communities. 

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