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The Cambridges

Prince William’s emotional visit to Yad Vashem taught him “more than I thought I knew”

The Duke of Cambridge started his first day in Israel on Tuesday morning at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem.

The trip to the museum kicked off the Duke’s historic three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, with him being the first senior member of the Royal Family to make an official visit.

At the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Duke of Cambridge expressed his horror at the Nazi extermination of six million Jews during World War II. During his visit, he met with Holocaust survivors and, whilst wearing a Kippah, laid a memorial wreath honouring the Jews that were murdered.

The Duke spoke of his horror at the sight of shoes left behind by Jews killed in a Nazi extermination camp. Whilst viewing the display, he said: “Terrifying. (I’m) trying to comprehend the scale”.

The memorial has recognised the Duke of Cambridge’s great-grandmother, Princess Alice, as part of the Righteous Among the Nations for her role in rescuing Jews during the Holocaust. Yad Vashem said Princess Alice “hid three members of the Cohen family – Rachel, Tilda and Michelle – in her palace in Athens during the Nazi occupation of Greece.”

Thanks to Princess Alice, the family survived and today lives in France. The Princess died in 1969, and in 1988, her remains were brought to Jerusalem. Back in 1994, the Duke of Edinburgh planted a tree at Yad Vashem in honour of his mother.

After his visit, the Duke of Cambridge met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara. During the meeting, the Duke got to meet the descendants of the family Princess Alice saved.

The Duke of Cambridge meets descendants from the Cohen family with the Prime Minister and his wife. (Photo: @KensingtonRoyal/Twitter)

Later on, the Duke of Cambridge met with President Reuven Rivlin who said it was a “great pleasure and honour” to welcome the Duke to Israel.

The Duke of Cambridge then thanked the President for the welcome, saying that he is “very much looking forward to getting to meet as many Israelis as possible” as well as “absorbing and understanding” the different issues, cultures and religions.

The Duke meeting the President of Israel earlier today. Photo: @KensingtonRoyal/Twitter

He then went on to speak of his emotional visit to Yad Vashem, saying: “I had a very moving tour around Yad Vashem this morning, which really taught me quite a lot more than I thought I knew about the true horrors of what happened to the Jews during the war.”

The pair then exchanged gifts: a copy of a photo album from the archives of the Yad Ben-Zvi Museum for the Duke of Cambridge and a Liverpool FC shirt signed by former Captain Steven Gerrard for the President who is a Liverpool supporter.