The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall today dipped their fingers in the waters of the holy River Jordan, which is used to baptize royal babies.
Charles and Camilla flew by helicopter to one of the most important religious sites in Jordan and were given the great honor of walking to the riverbed where it is believed that Jesus Christ was baptized.
Located in the Jordan Valley, north of the Dead Sea and on the border with Israel, the UNESCO World Heritage Site welcomes pilgrims from all over the world and has been recognized by all major Christian church leaders as one of the three holiest sites in Christianity, together with Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
The prince and his wife walked gingerly down a pair of well-worn steps and a steep, pebbled path to the water, where they stood for a few moments in silent reflection.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall today dipped their fingers in the waters of the holy River Jordan used to baptize royal babies
Then they bent down and each dipped their fingers in it (pictured) before carefully walking back down the path to sign a visitor’s book
Then they bent over and each stuck their fingers in it, Charles followed first by Camilla, before carefully walking back up the path to sign a visitor’s book.
Upon their earlier arrival, the couple had first stopped at nearby Elijah’s Hill, where John the Baptist lived in a cave for about 20 years, and where Jesus is said to have visited him.
From the ruins, the couple could see Jericho and Jerusalem in the distance.
Elijah’s Hill is believed to be where Elijah ascended to heaven in the 9th century BC, overlooking the wilderness stretching to the Jordan River.
The Bible says that Elijah would return before the coming of Jesus, so when John the Baptist started baptizing people there, it caused a huge commotion in the surrounding villages.
They were received by HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, the King’s Senior Adviser on Religious and Cultural Affairs, who has shown great interest in the project, and the Director General of the Baptismal Site, Rustom Mkhjian.
The prince and his wife walked gingerly down a few worn-out steps and a steep, pebbled path to the water, where they stood in silent reflection for a few moments (pictured)
The Jordanian people have taken great pride in the careful excavation of the area, leaving much of the site as it would have been at the time of Christ.
The royal visitors were given a tour of the area and even had the opportunity to sit quietly together in John the Baptist’s cave.
The prince seemed particularly moved to visit a place where so many famous prophets and pilgrims are said to have been.
Pre-Covid-19 it welcomed more than 200,000 visitors a year and is expected to reach this number again in the next one-two years.
They were then taken to the christening site by golf cart, before traveling back in the same electric vehicles and flying back to the capital Amman for a glamorous royal dinner.
Afterwards, Mr. Mkhjian said of the visit: ‘It was wonderful. Their Royal Highness asked so many questions. We discovered so much more than when the Prince was last there and he was so happy to see how we’ve preserved it. My last words to him were: ‘Your Royal Highness, welcome to the lowest place on earth closest to heaven has been discovered’.
“I was so excited to be able to show him the importance of the site, but also to explain that we have preserved it the way Jesus and John did.
Charles and Camilla flew by helicopter to one of the most important religious sites in Jordan and were given the great honor of walking to the riverbed where it is believed that Jesus Christ was baptized (pictured)
“One of the last visitors admitted to the baptismal site was His Holiness Pope Francis. It’s a great honour.
“The meaning for them to touch is that they are actually touching a water table described by pilgrims in the 6th century and worn down by hundreds of thousands of feet over the centuries.”
After their moment at the baptismal site, the prince took part in an interfaith gathering about religious tolerance and the environment.
He said to them: ‘You are the people, you are the leaders of your communities, you are the people who remind your flocks to live in harmony with nature. There is hope. There are ways that getting married can change.
“I pray with all my heart that the churches and creeds will take the lead with those in private business and the public sector”
“Now is the time to turn people’s awareness into real action on the ground.”
He told them that the different religions should do for the environment what they had done for interfaith relations.
In return, the religious asked him to convey their prayers to the queen.