The bond between Jews and the Crown is subtle but enduring

On so many issues, the King has often been ahead of his time


LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is greeted by the Lord Jonathan Sacks and his successor 11th Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the UK and the Commonwealth, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (L) before he was formally inducted at a ceremony at the St John's Wood Synagogue on September 1, 2013 in London, England. ( Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

September 13, 2022 14:51

The bond between the Jewish community and the Crown is sometimes subtly expressed but always real and deep-seated.

As Jews, we understand the purpose of ritual and ceremony and how it binds us to each other, to our families, to our community, to the wider Jewish world. So too, the rituals of the Royal Family bind us a nation.

This is not our only link to the Crown. King Charles himself remarked how deeply touched he was by the fact that British synagogues have, for centuries, remembered his Family in our weekly prayers. 

This is reciprocal as he has, in his time as Prince of Wales, remembered and celebrated the Jewish community. 

Possibly one of the foremost reasons Jews feel at home here and able to integrate into wider society is because of the affection shown to us by the monarchy. 

I recall seeing Charles at Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’s installation and learning that the embossed blue velvet Kippa on the royal’s head was his very own custom-made one. 

I have seen him wear it on numerous occasions since and it is a great indicator that his connection to the community is both genuine and intimate.

The new King has previously said that he drew inspiration from the kindness shown by his grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, a Righteous Princess, who sheltered Jewish refugees in the Holocaust.

Perhaps it is what inspired his commissioning of artists to paint portraits of Holocaust survivors and put on public display in Buckingham Palace.

This, he said, was a tribute to a passing generation and to show that "hope is victorious over despair".

We are privileged that King Charles is a patron of many Jewish charities, including JLC members Jewish Museum and World Jewish Relief.

His visit to World Jewish Relief earlier this year allowed him to see first-hand the work the community does to support some of the most vulnerable people around the world.

We mourn his mother, knowing she was one of our greatest monarchs, but we can look forward to the new reign knowing that the institution is in safe hands. All that she stood for – duty, compassion, strength, and resilience – will be values we see in our King.

The passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, has filled many across this nation and the world with great sadness. Her extraordinary 70-year reign saw 15 prime ministers, war, economic upheaval, a global pandemic, personal and national loss.

Along with the sadness that many will feel is a deep sense of uncertainty. When you recall that she ascended the throne when Winston Churchill was in Number 10 — for most of us, a man confined to history books — we comprehend just how much she lived through.

There she stayed, for a remarkable 14 prime ministers after him. Indeed, her last great task of state was the appointment of Liz Truss as Prime Minister.

But our new Head of State, King Charles III, has had his own long stint of service as Prince of Wales. His achievements are vast, and he has changed countless lives through the work of the Prince’s Trust.

On so many issues, he has often been ahead of his time. His views on the environment were known a long time before it was fashionable.

Contradictory as it may seem — and this is very much his position on the environment — sometimes we need change in order for things to remain the same. We should heed this notion and take comfort in it as he succeeds the throne.

May the late Queen’s memory be a blessing and God save the King.

September 13, 2022 14:51

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive