PRINCE WILLIAM arrived in Jordan yesterday on the first stop of a five-day Middle East tour — the first British royal to visit Israel and Palestinian territories on behalf of the government.
The historic trip began with a welcome from Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, a fellow graduate of the Royal Sandhurst Military Academy.
The 23-year-old — standing in for King Abdullah of Jordan and Queen Rania — took the Duke of Cambridge to FabLab, set up by his foundation to equip young people with technology skills.
The timing of the visit meant William missed England’s World Cup game against Panama but he was due to watch a recording later. He joked: ‘On pain of death, please don’t tell me the score.’
However, Aston Villa-themed gifts were enough to give him a taste of home. During the visit, William, 36, was presented with a shield decorated with the crest of his favourite football club, as well as a model of a Ducati motorbike petrol tank, also bearing the club’s crest.
The crown prince shares William’s passion for motorbikes. When the duke pressed a button to start a laser cutter, he saw the Villa crest and said: ‘That’s familiar. Very good. You have done your research.’
William was shown 3D printers, a drone, a robotic arm and other pieces of technology young people have created.
The duke was introduced to students, including Hashem Taamneh, 19, who impressed the royal with his language skills as he talked about a drone.
‘He is clearly very clever,’ William said, when he heard the student had been learning English for only a year.
Shown a robotic arm drawing beautiful patterns, the duke said: ‘This will be good for my children to start learning a bit of coding. It has to be helpful.’
Prince William’s visit will also include the archeological site of Jerash as well as education-related projects and the British army base near the capital.
He will then go on to Israel for a meeting with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then to the West Bank to meet Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.