Prince William flew into Jordan on Sunday at the launch of a Middle East tour that will see him become the first British royal to pay official visits to both Israel and the Palestinian territories.
He was greeted at Amman’s Marka military airport by Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, hosting William for the two-day visit in Jordan.
The 36-year-old Duke of Cambridge’s Royal Air Force plane touched down at the small airport in eastern Amman, where he was given a red-carpet welcome by the heir to the Jordanian throne.
Royal guards carrying rifles fitted with bayonets and wearing Jordan’s traditional red-and-white chequered keffiyeh scarves stood to attention as the prince, in a dark suit, descended from the plane.
The visit by the second in line to the British throne has been billed as a chance to bond with 23-year-old Prince Hussein, a fellow graduate of Britain’s Royal Sandhurst Military Academy.
On Sunday evening, William attended a birthday party in honour of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, whose official 92nd birthday was celebrated on June 9, at the British ambassador’s residence.
“I greatly admire the resilience you in Jordan have shown in the face of the many security and humanitarian challenges that have confronted you as a result of conflicts in this region,” William said at the party.
“The way in which you opened your doors to hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, not to mention your longstanding commitments to Palestinian refugees, is remarkable,” he said.
“In so many ways, Jordan as an open and stable society is a beacon of hope for many other people in the Middle East.”
On Monday, William will visit the ancient Roman ruins of Jerash, north of the capital, as well as a vocational training college for young Jordanians and Syrian refugees.
That evening, he will begin his history-making visit to the Jewish state and occupied West Bank during which he will meet both Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.