The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall today dipped their fingers in water from the holy River Jordan which is used to baptise royal babies.
Charles and Camilla flew by helicopter to one of the most important religious sites in Jordan and were given the great honour of walking down to the riverbed where it is believed Jesus Christ was baptised.
The UNESCO world heritage site, situated in the Jordan Valley, north of the Dead Sea and on the border with Israel, welcomes pilgrims from across the world and has been authenticated by all major Christian Church leaders as one of the three holiest sites of Christianity, along with Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
The prince and his wife walked gingerly down some well-worn steps and a steep, pebbly path to the water, where they stood for a few moments in quiet reflection.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall today dipped their fingers in water from the holy River Jordan which is used to baptise royal babies
Then they bent down and each dipped their fingers in (pictured) before walking carefully back up the path to sign a visitor’s book
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are welcomed by King Abdullah II, Queen Rania Al-Abdullah and Crown Prince Hussein at the Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman, Jordan, on the first day of their tour of the Middle East
Then they bent down and each dipped their fingers in, Charles first followed by Camilla, before walking carefully back up the path to sign a visitor’s book.
On their arrival earlier, the couple had first stopped at nearby Elijah’s Hill, where John the Baptist lived for about 20 years in a cave, and where Jesus is believed to have visited him.
From the ruins the couple could see Jericho and Jerusalem stretching out into the distance.
Elijah’s Hill is believed to be where Elijah ascended to heaven in the 9th century BC, with views of the wilderness stretching out across to the River Jordan.
The Bible states that Elijah would return before the coming of Jesus, so when John the Baptist began baptising people there it caused a huge stir in the surrounding villages.
They were met by HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, the King’s Senior Adviser for Religious and Cultural Affairs, who has taken a great interest in the project, and The Director General of the Baptism Site, Rustom Mkhjian.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were all smiles as they arrived at the Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman, Jordan
Queen Rania and Camilla later visited the Queen Rania Family and Children Centre in Amman
The prince and his wife walked gingerly down some well-worn steps and a steep, pebbly path to the water, where they stood for a few moments in quiet reflection (pictured)
Charles and Camilla flew by helicopter to one of the most important religious sites in Jordan and were given the great honour of walking down to the riverbed where it is believed Jesus Christ was baptised (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 in the time of Christ.
The royal visitors were given a guided tour of the area and were even offered the opportunity to sit in John the Baptist’s cave for a few moments quietly together.
The prince seemed particularly moved to be visiting a site, where so many famed prophets and pilgrims are said to have passed through.
Pre-Covid-19, it welcomed more than 200,000 visitors per year and the expectation is that this number will again be reached over the next one-two years.
They were then taken down to the Baptism site by golf buggy, before travelling back up on the same electric vehicles and flying back to the capital Amman for a glamorous royal dinner.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visiting the baptism site of al-Maghtas, where Jesus is believed by Christians to have been baptised by John the Baptist, on the Jordan river
The royal couple (pictured) held hands as they walked down the steps and towards the riverbed
Prince Charles, who donned a smart grey suit, bent down and dipped his fingers in the holy river Jordan
Camilla then followed, before the royal couple paused and took a moment to reflect
Speaking afterwards Mr Mkhjian said of the visit: ‘It was great. Their Royal Highness were asking so many questions.
‘We have discovered so much more than when the prince last visited and he was ever so pleased to see how we have preserved this. My last words to him were ‘Your Royal Highness, welcome to the lowest site discovered on earth that is closest to heaven’.
‘I was so excited to be able to show him the importance of the site but also explain that we have preserved it the way Jesus and John did.
‘One of the last visitors to be allowed down to the Baptism site was his Holiness Pope Francis. It is a great honour.
The Duchess of Cornwall was seen bending down and dipping her fingers in water from the holy River Jordan which is used to baptise royal babies
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall leave the site where Christians believe Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist, on the Jordan River
‘The significance to them touching is that they are actually touching a water table described by pilgrims in the 6th Century, worn down by hundreds of thousands of feet over the centuries.’
After their moment at the Baptism site, the prince took part in an interfaith meeting about religious tolerance and the environment.
He told them: ‘You are the people, who are the leaders of your communities, you are the people to remind your flocks of living in harmony with nature. There is hope. There are ways wed can change.
‘I pray with all my heart that the Churches and Faiths will lead the way with those in private enterprise and the public sectors
‘Now is the time to translate people’s awareness into real action on the ground.’
He told them that the different Faiths needed to do for the environment what they had done for interfaith relations.
In return the religious gathered asked him to convey their prayers to the Queen.
The Prince of Wales signs the guest book as his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, looks on (pictured)
The royal visitors were given a guided tour of the area (pictured) and were even offered the opportunity to sit in John the Baptist’s cave for a few moments quietly together
Prince Charles signed the guest book as he and Camilla visited the baptism site of al-Maghtas