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May 25, 2018 09:30 AM

When Prince William jets off to Israel next month, he will make history as the first official visitor from the royal family to the country.

But he will create headlines of a different sort if he follows the lead of some of his ancestors — and gets some ink!

In 1862, Queen Victoria’s eldest son, Prince Albert Edward (the future Edward VII), visited Jerusalem as part of a five-month tour of Egypt and the Ottoman Empire. Then, in 1882, two of his sons, Prince Albert Victor and his brother George (the future George V), followed in their father’s footsteps and visited the Holy Land — and like their dad, got a tattoo on their arms depicting five crosses and the three crowns of Jerusalem.

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According to Bicom, a U.K.-based organization which acts to promote awareness of Israel and the Middle East in the United Kingdom, the tattoos were given by the Razzouk family, Coptic Christians specializing in tattoos who came to Jerusalem in 1750 from Egypt. And they still have a parlor in Jerusalem’s Old City, meaning William, 35, could pop in and get one!

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The link with Coptic Christians and the current royal family is more obvious than any chance meeting in a tattoo store. William’s father, Prince Charles, has supported the welfare of persecuted Christians including those from the Coptic church in some areas of the Middle East, making it the focus of his Easter address. And the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London Anba Angaelos led some of the prayers at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last Saturday.

 

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Kensington Place announced on Thursday that William, 35, will tour Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories next month. His trip begins on June 24 in Amman, and includes stops in Tel Aviv and Ramallah before concluding in Jerusalem on June 28.

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William’s visit marks the first time a member of the royal family has traveled to Israel on official business. Prince Phillip went in 1994 for a Yad Vashem ceremony honoring his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, who saved Jews during the Holocaust by opening the doors of her palace in Greece. In 2016, Prince Charles attended the funeral of former President Shimon Peres.

The high-profile visit was “at the request of Her Majesty’s government and has been welcomed by the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian authorities,” Kensington Palace said in a statement.

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