William returns to work: Prince visits synagogue in London two days after pulling out of his godfather’s memorial service for ‘personal reasons’ – and mentions Kate who couldn’t join him after surgery

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Written By Maya Cantina

The Prince of Wales today made his first public appearance since pulling out of the memorial service for his godfather, the late King Constantine II of Greece.

Prince William visited the Western Marble Arch Synagogue in central London to take part in discussions about the rise in anti-Semitism in Britain.

He met with two Holocaust survivors, Manfred Goldberg and Renee Salt, as well as young people who have taken part in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s flagship ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ project. 

He was given a bouquet of flowers for Kate as he stood with Rabbi Daniel Epstein, who has headed up the Marble Arch synagogue since 2021 with his wife Illana 

William told attendees: ‘Prejudice has no place in society. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I want you all to know you can talk about it and your experiences. 

‘Both Catherine and I are extremely concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism that you guys have talked about this morning and I’m just so sorry if any of you have had to experience that. 

‘It has no place… that’s why I’m here today to reassure you all that people do care and people do listen and we can’t let that go.’

The engagement was originally planned to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day last month and the Princess of Wales was also due to attend. 

The event had to be postponed due to the Princess’s abdominal surgery last month.

The Prince of Wales today made his first public appearance since pulling out of the memorial service for his godfather, the late King Constantine II of Greece

Prince William visited the Western Marble Arch Synagogue in central London to take part in discussions about the rise in anti-Semitism in Britain

Prince William visited the Western Marble Arch Synagogue in central London to take part in discussions about the rise in anti-Semitism in Britain

Prince William previously met Mr Goldberg during his visit with the Princess of Wales to the former Stutthof concentration camp in what is now Poland in 2017. 

The Lessons from Auschwitz project sees young people across the UK learn about the history of the Holocaust.

They are taken on visits to the site of the former death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, where more than one million Jews were murdered by the Nazis. 

Karen Pollock CBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said: ‘Today His Royal Highness reminded us that antisemitism is not only a problem for the Jewish community but for all society.

‘He listened to young Jewish students who are facing a deluge of anti-Semitic hate on campus share their personal experiences of this anti-Jewish hate and he met young Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassadors, who are campaigning against antisemitism despite not being Jewish themselves.

‘He spent time with Holocaust survivor Renee Salt BEM. When she was liberated nearly 80 years ago, she never could have imagined that once again, within her lifetime, there would be a global explosion of antisemitism.

‘His Royal Highness’ visit sends a powerful message that Britain is a country where Jews – whether Holocaust survivors who came to find sanctuary or young Jewish students – are welcome and celebrated. 

‘He reminds us that even in the darkest days, the Jewish community is not alone.

‘We thank His Royal Highness for his leadership on this issue and we are so grateful for his unwavering support for our cause and our community.’

Crown Prince Pavlos, 56, the current head of the former Greek royal family, gave a reading at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, in William’s stead this week after the prince pulled out with 45 minutes’ notice due to what Kensington Palace would only describe as ‘personal reasons’. 

The Prince of Wales was due to read from Revelation 21:1-7, a popular verse of the Bible for funerals – but a moved Pavlos stood up instead to say: ‘God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’.

Prince William speaks with Renee Salt, 94, a Holocaust survivor, at the Western Marble Arch Synagogue

Prince William speaks with Renee Salt, 94, a Holocaust survivor, at the Western Marble Arch Synagogue

Prince William receives a bouquet of flowers for his wife Catherine, Princess of Wales, during his visit at the Western Marble Arch Synagogue, in London

Prince William receives a bouquet of flowers for his wife Catherine, Princess of Wales, during his visit at the Western Marble Arch Synagogue, in London

Rabbi Daniel Epstein shows Britain's Prince William a 17th century Torah scroll as he visits the Western Marble Arch Synagogue

Rabbi Daniel Epstein shows Britain’s Prince William a 17th century Torah scroll as he visits the Western Marble Arch Synagogue

He met with two Holocaust survivors, Manfred Goldberg and Renee Salt, as well as young people who have taken part in the Holocaust Educational Trust's flagship 'Lessons from Auschwitz' project

He met with two Holocaust survivors, Manfred Goldberg and Renee Salt, as well as young people who have taken part in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s flagship ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ project

The official YouTube film from inside St George’s Chapel, where Elizabeth II was laid to rest in September 2022, also showed the poignant moment Queen Camilla stood for the national anthem with her husband absent because he is battling cancer.

Earlier in the service, at one point, she appeared to wipe away a tear.

Charles III would have been there to lead the Royal Family but is receiving hospital treatment so has taken a complete break from royal duties.

Buckingham Palace has said that his cancer has been caught early and His Majesty is ‘wholly positive’.

On the same day as the memorial service, it emerged that Thomas Kingston had died.

The sudden death of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent’s son-in-law has left the Royal Family and friends in a state of deep shock. But this was not the reason for William’s absence, it later emerged.

The late Constantine II was William’s godfather, close to the Queen and a dear friend and sailing partner of Prince Philip.

Queen Camilla was instead the most senior member of the Royal Family in attendance – with Prince Andrew also enjoying a prominent role as he led fellow royals on foot to the service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

No further detail was given on William’s absence, and it is not known if it relates to his wife the Princess of Wales’s recovery after her abdominal surgery last month, although royal sources insisted she was still ‘doing well’ at home.

William, pictured on February 20, said he missed the service at St George's Chapel for 'personal reasons' - but no further details were given

William, pictured on February 20, said he missed the service at St George’s Chapel for ‘personal reasons’ – but no further details were given

The King has been seen at Sandringham going to church each Sunday but public duties have been paused

The King has been seen at Sandringham going to church each Sunday but public duties have been paused

William was last seen at the Baftas on February 18, while Kate has not been seen since Christmas at Sandringham.

Kate will remain away from official royal engagements until after Easter following her surgery.

As for Charles, he was at Windsor Castle earlier in the day but left before the service began – with the reception afterwards hosted by Camilla. 

The King was later photographed waving while being driven into Clarence House, his London residence.

Meanwhile Andrew was present front and centre with Sarah, Duchess of York and his daughter Princesses Beatrice – along with her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi – because it was deemed a personal family event.

It is also understood that the Duke of York was attending the service as a member of the British Royal Family and had been invited by the Greek Royal Family. Andrew’s other daughter Princess Eugenie was not in attendance.

In Charles’s absence from public duties, Camilla has become the most senior royal performing engagements.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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