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June 25, 2018 08:07 AM

Kate Middleton wasn’t there, but she was on the mind of Prince William as he visited a spectacular historical site in Jordan on Monday morning.

William, 36, headed to the archaeological site of Jerash, a first-century city that is home to the largest Roman remains in the Mediterranean region and one of Jordan’s greatest tourist attractions.

It was a special place for Princess Kate too. When she was a toddler, her family lived in Jordan while her father, Michael, worked for British Airways in Amman. At age 3, she visited the ruins along with her sister Pippa. Her parents chose the memory as a key moment to release to the media shortly before she wed William in 2011.

From left: Kate Middleton, sister Pippa and dad Michael visiting Jerash, Jordan, when Kate was a toddler.
Middleton Family/Clarence House via GettyImages

Kate, 36, remained at home in England with the couple’s children, Prince George, 4, Princess Charlotte, 3, and 2-month-old Prince Louis.

William was escorted there by Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan, 23, and as they arrived at the exact spot where Kate and her family had posed for a photograph, a huge poster-sized version of the picture had been placed there in front of them — leading William to joke that he and his wife will have to bring their children next time they visit.

At a party shortly after his arrival in Jordan Sunday night, William noted how much Kate was missing the trip. She “is very sorry she cannot be here with me so soon after the birth of our son Louis [on April 23], but her family remembers very fondly the almost three years she spent here as a child when her father worked for British Airways in Amman,” he said.

He added, “Catherine’s experience is not unique — the interchange between our two countries is real and deep: work, study, tourism and family links.”

At the ancient site, William attended a celebration for young people benefiting from the Makani organization. It is a charity that works with children and tens from deprived backgrounds, especially those from refugee communities. Jordan is currently home to more than 655,000 refugees — said by William’s spokesman to be “a staggering act of generosity and humanitarianism for a country with a population of 9.5 million.”

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The prince then moved on to the Dar Na’mah Centre — a project of the Princess Taghrid Institute (PTI), which was set up to help women to develop their own livelihoods and support their families and communities.

Later in the afternoon, William was set to meet young Jordanians and Syrian refugees who are developing skills to compete in the modern economy at Al Quds College back in Amman.  “It is an incredibly vibrant place that will give [William] a sense of the optimism and ambition of Jordan’s young people,” William’s office said in a previous statement.

Monday evening, William heads to Jerusalem — the first time a member of the British royal family has visited Israel on behalf of the U.K. government. After flying into Tel Aviv, he is staying at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel for the duration of his three-day stay.

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