After months of daddy duty with his new baby boy, Louis Arthur Charles, Prince William has returned to his royal duties. Over the past week, he has been touring Jordan (where he recreated a photo from Kate Middleton’s childhood), Israel and the West Bank, and meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin as well as Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Hulda.
While in Israel, Prince William also made a point to stop by the tomb where his great-grandmother Princess Alice of Battenberg is buried.
Princess Alice died in 1969. She is the mother of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who is Prince William’s grandfather. The great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Alice led a regal life, but not without hardship.
She was born deaf, and later in life she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. However, Princess Alice never let this hold her back from living a full life and helping others.
In fact, she was a hero in World War II, helping to rescue Jewish families from the Nazis. In 1941, Princess Alice found herself in Nazi-occupied Greece. She not only gave away her own food and supplies to the desperately poor Jewish community, and she even went so far as to hide a Jewish family in her own home. When the Nazis confronted her, Princess Alice used her hearing disability to her advantage, acting as though she could not understand their questions.
As a result of her bravery, she was given the honorable title of “Righteous Among the Nations” by the State of Israel. This is an honorific reserved for those who risked their own lives in order to protect Jewish people during the Holocaust, and it is a testament to Princess Alice’s humanity and heroism that she was awarded this title.
It’s no wonder that her great-grandson Prince William wanted to make sure to visit her tomb, which is located in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. This holy spot is also home to 30 Russian Orthodox nuns, which is fitting as Princess Alice had a religious awakening in her adulthood and founded her own nursing order of Greek Orthodox nuns.
Before leaving Jerusalem, Prince William also placed a hand-written prayer in the cracks of the Western Wall. His visit to the Holy Land is no doubt a trip he will remember forever.