Your Highness, be our guest . . .
BECAUSE OUR fully stretched Foreign Office may perhaps be too busy to organise a visit to Israel for the Prince of Wales, the JC has stepped in to organise a tailor-made tour.
Since the Royal Family tends, these days, to use scheduled airlines, we made the effort to find a flight fit for a king and went right to the top to speak to Uri Danor, El Al’s London CEO.
He said: “We are ready for him. We now have a daily first-class service from London to Tel Aviv on a new Boeing 777.
“We will bring aboard a special chef who will prepare organic food, which we know he has a special interest in.”
And on touchdown, promises Mr Danor, the airline would arrange “landing music — Hava Nagila and Hevenu Shalom Aleichem”.
The last time Charles was in Jerusalem, for Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral in 1995, he booked so late he could only get a deluxe room at the King David Hotel. The JC has located an ideal alternative nearby: the Royal Suite on the sixth floor of the King David, with views over the Old City. We also negotiated personal tours of the key Christian sites — Gethsemane, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Via Dolorosa.
As Defender of the Faiths, HRH will doubtless want to take a look at the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Western Wall.
There would still be time for a visit to the grave of his paternal grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, who was reburied in the Holy City in 1994.
Knowing his interest in plants and gardening, we have also made discreet inquiries about a quiet visit to the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, which has an exchange programme with its counterpart at Kew.
We found a convenient Arkia flight to Eilat and suitable accommodation for the royal party at the Presidential Suite at the Royal Beach hotel.
Owner David Lewis is, like Charles, a keen sailor and would gladly take him for a mini cruise on the Red Sea.
Further north, we found an ideal place for a quick stop: the Carmel Wineries in Rishon-le-Zion and a quick chat with Adam Sebag-Montefiore, brother of author Simon, whose Liberal Jewish Synagogue wedding to Santa Palmer-Tomkinson the Prince attended.
The north also has a rich Christian heritage. Indeed, Charles’s aunt, the late Princess Margaret, used to pop across the border when visiting the Jordanian Royal family for little forays to Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee.
Camilla may wish to note that there are more than a dozen branches of jeweller H Stern, should there be time for shopping.
Prince Charles attends the 1995 funeral of slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin alongside French President Jacques Chirac, British Premier John Major and other heads of state and dignitaries