Prince William visits Jerusalem tomb of his great-grandmother Princess Alice

PRINCE William has made a “profoundly moving” visit to the tomb of his great-grandmother Princess Alice in Jerusalem.

The golden-domed Russian Orthodox church on the Mount of Olives above the Old City is situated in the Garden of Gethsamane and is Alice’s final resting place.

William visits the tomb of his great-grandmother Princess Alice in JerusalemCredit: AP:Associated Press

In keeping with Russian Orthodox tradition William took bread and salt and the entrance of the church.

He then went inside and laid flowers at the sarcophagus of St Elizabeth, where candles were lit and he paused for a moment of private reflection.

Father Roman then recited a “prayer for the reposal of Princess Alice’s soul”, while William, eyes closed in prayer, bowed his head and prayed for several minutes.

The Duke of Cambridge was also shown several photographs of Princess Alexandra and her family tree.

William’s great-grandmother helped protect Jews during the WWII in Nazi-occupied GreeceCredit: AP:Associated Press

Princess Alice, was Prince Philip’s mother, died in 1969Credit: AP:Associated Press

William stands with father Roman Archimandrite during a visit to the Mary Magdalene Church, in east JerusalemCredit: AP:Associated Press

Alice was a devout Christian and asked to be buried in JerusalemCredit: Hulton Royals Collection – Getty

He said: “It’s absolutely fascinating to hear about the family history.”

The princess was declared Righteous Among the Nations, a huge honour, for protecting Jews in her Athens home during the Second World War.

In a speech this week, speaking about his great-grandmother, William said: “Her story is a matter of great pride for my whole family.”

A great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Alice was born deaf, she married Prince Andrew of Greece, and was then cast into exile when the Greek royal family was overthrown.

She later suffered a mental breakdown and was subsequently abandoned by her husband and detained in a Swiss infirmary where she was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

When the war ended, she founded an order of nuns and famously wore her nun’s habit at the Queen’s Coronation in 1953.

She was then invited by her son and daughter-in-law to live in Buckingham Palace before passing away, two years later in 1969, aged 84.

For many years, her remains lay in the royal vault at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

But it her wish to buried in Israel near her aunt and mentor, Elizabeth Feodorovna, the Grand Duchess of Russia, who was interred in St Mary Magdalene.

Prince William prays at sacred Wailing Wall of Jerusalem’s Old City on last day of his Middle East royal tour

The Duke of Cambridge touches the Western Wall during his historic visit to the Old CityCredit: AFP or licensors

The Duke walks alongside Western Wall chief Rabbi Shmuel RabinovitchCredit: AFP or licensors

In 1988, Princess Alice’s remains were moved from Windsor to the church on the Mount of Olives.

At the time political unrest prevented the Duke of Edinburgh from attending that burial, and he was not able to visit his mother’s grave in Israel until a private visit in 1994.

During a ceremony that year where a tree was dedicated to Alice, Philip said: “I suspect that it never occurred to her that her action was in any way special.

“She was a person with deep religious faith and she would have considered it to be a totally human action to fellow human beings in distress.”

Prince Charles also went to his grandmother’s grave whilst on a private visit in 2016 after the state funeral of Shimon Peres.

Last year, while speaking to Holocaust survivors in Austria, he said: “My father’s mother took in a Jewish family during the war and hid them.

“She was amazing, my grandmother.

“She took them in during the Nazi occupation. She never told anybody, she didn’t tell her family for many years.”

William is the first senior British royal to make an official visit to the regionCredit: AP:Associated Press

The Prince in Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City featuring the golden Dome of the Rock mosqueCredit: AP:Associated Press

William met ancestors of the Cohen family at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence on Tuesday after visiting the memorial to the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust.

After paying tribute to Princess Alice, he was scheduled to visit the hilltop holy esplanade in Jerusalem housing al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock and Judaism’s Western Wall below.

The site in the Old City is revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount where Biblical temples once stood. Its future is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The prince visited the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Wednesday, meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and touring a refugee camp, on a day which also took him to the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv.

In a speech in Jerusalem on Wednesday, he assured Palestinians “you have not been forgotten”.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2014 and the divide between the two sides has widened in the years since amid bouts of violence.

Prince William cheered by youths as he visits Palestinian refugee camp in West Bank and has meeting with female students

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