Leaked email re­veals royal re­buff on Is­rael

‘No chance ever’ of Clarence House ac­cept­ing in­vi­ta­tion to visit Jerusalem Fear that Is­rael would want Charles ‘to help bur­nish its in­ter­na­tional im­age’

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page -

A LEAKED email ex­change be­tween two of Prince Charles’s clos­est aides ex­poses se­ri­ous in­ter­nal con­cerns about ac­cept­ing an in­vi­ta­tion to visit Is­rael.

Ear­lier this year, the Is­raeli em­bassy in­vited Sir Michael Peat, Prince Charles’s Prin­ci­pal Private Sec­re­tary, and Clive Alderton, Deputy Private Sec­re­tary, to Is­rael for a four-day visit as guests of the Knes­set.

This was seen as a pre­lude to a pos­si­ble of­fi­cial visit by the Prince, which would have been the first-ever state visit by a Bri­tish royal to Is­rael.

Sir Michael — copy­ing in Mr Alderton — ini­tially ex­pressed en­thu­si­asm for the idea, re­ply­ing in an email to the em­bassy: “The in­vi­ta­tion is hugely ap­pre­ci­ated and Clive and I would love to come.”

How­ever,amonth­later, in an ex­change of emails seen by the JC, Mr Alderton pri­vately sought re­as­sur­ance from his su­pe­rior that the pair need never ac­cept the in­vi­ta­tion.

MrAlder­ton—whosere­spon­si­bil­i­ties in­clude for­eign af­fairs and re­la­tions wi­th­eth­ni­can­d­faith­com­mu­ni­ties — com­plained to Sir Michael in an email of be­ing “pur­sued” by the am­bas­sador, and asked: “Safe to as­sume there is no chance of this visit ever ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing?

“Ac­cep­tance would make it hard to avoid the many ways in which Is­rael would want HRH [Prince Charles] to help bur­nish its in­ter­na­tional im­age.

“In which case, let’s agree a way to lower his ex­pec­ta­tions.”

When con­tacted by the JC with ev­i­dence of the email ex­change, a spokesman for the Prince of Wales sought to play down its sig­nif­i­cance.

“This is sim­ply an in­ter­nal email about a pos­si­ble visit by Clarence House of­fi­cials to Is­rael,” he told the JC. “Any po­ten­tial visit by the Prince of Wales would­be­un­der­tak­e­natthere­c­om­men­da­tion of the gov­ern­ment. The Prince is con­tin­u­ing his reg­u­lar en­gage­ment with the Jewish com­mu­nity in the UK and abroad. Next week, for ex­am­ple, he is at­tend­ing a World Jewish Re­lief din­ner in Lon­don, and fur­ther events are planned be­fore the end of the year.”

When asked about the im­pli­ca­tions of Mr Alderton’s com­ments, the out­go­ing Is­raeli am­bas­sador, Zvi Heifetz, who is­sued the in­vi­ta­tion, said: “We have very good re­la­tions with His Royal High­ness Prince Charles, who lately re­ceived our act­ing pres­i­dent, Dalia Itzik. We hope to see him one day in Is­rael.”

He added: “I have no com­ment to make about what was said by his deputy private sec­re­tary in the email that you quote. If true, I am sorry to hear it.”

A spokesman for the Is­raeli em­bassy also de­clined to com­ment on an in­ter­nal email ex­change, but em­pha­sised its and Is­rael’s “very good re­la­tions with the royal fam­ily” as ex­em­pli­fied by Ms Itzik’s “fruit­ful and am­i­ca­ble dis­cus­sion” with the Prince.

Sir Michael, 58, has worked for the Prince since 2002. In 2005, he be­came Prin­ci­pal Private Sec­re­tary to the Prince and the Duchess of Corn­wall. Ed­u­cated at Eton and Trin­ity Col­lege, Ox­ford, he joined the royal house­hold in 1990, serv­ing as Keeper of the Privy Purse and Trea­surer to the Queen.

Mr Alderton, a for­mer con­sul-gen­eral in Lille, is on sec­ond­ment from the For­eign Of­fice and was ap­pointed as Deputy Private Sec­re­tary to the Prince and his wife last year. In Fe­bru­ary he ac­com­pa­nied them on a visit to Kuwait, where the Crown Prince re­ceived them.

No mem­ber of the Bri­tish royal fam­ily has yet vis­ited Is­rael in an of­fi­cial ca­pac­ity. Prince Philip was there in 1994 to at­tend a Yad Vashem cer­e­mony to hon­our his late mother, and Prince Charles at­tended the funeral of Prime Min­is­ter Yitzhak Rabin. Prince Ed­ward vis­ited Is­rael in Septem­ber, but the royal house­hold in­sisted that this was a private trip.

“Prince Charles is a great friend of the Jewish com­mu­nity,” com­mented Henry Grun­wald, pres­i­dent of the Board of Deputies and chair­man of the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil. “I am sure he will be deeply dis­turbed that some peo­ple might in­ter­pret th­ese un­for­tu­nate emails as con­vey­ing any hos­til­ity to Is­rael at all. I hope that his ad­vis­ers will be able to co-or­di­nate their di­aries so as to en­able them to visit Is­rael in the near fu­ture.”

Jeremy New­mark, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil, said: “The tone of the email is deeply un­for­tu­nate.”

The Is­raeli For­eign Min­istry de­clined to com­ment.

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Clive Alderton

PHOTO: PAPHOTOS

The Prince of Wales ( left) with his Private Sec­re­tary, Sir Michael Peat, re­ferred to as “M” in the leaked email

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