King Charles scheduled a multifaith meeting on Friday at Buckingham Palace but its scheduled time of after 6 p.m. was too late for Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis to attend and return home in time for Shabbos.
But King Charles was determined that Rabbi Mirvis would attend and had the palace change the schedule so the event could begin at 5:30 p.m.
Rabbi Mirvis told the story on BBC on Sunday morning. “When the king entered, he first spoke, and then said: ‘Chief Rabbi, you can now leave,'” Rabbi Mirvis said.
“But I said, no, no. I will respect protocol. I will only leave after His Majesty leaves.”
“He said: ‘No, no, no you can go now. You have to go home for the Sabbath.'”
“But I still stayed since the time was made earlier,” Rabbi Mirvis continued. “But this showed his deep concern for other faiths, his respect for other faiths. It’s great – he’s now the head of the church but at the same time, he’s the champion of other faiths.”
A source told the Jewish Chronicle: “Of all the things the royal staff have to consider, with the crazy schedule the King has at the moment, to move things around out of respect for the Chief Rabbi and Shabbat is quite a gesture.
“It wasn’t like the Chief Rabbi’s office told them Shabbat would be an issue. The Palace took the initiative and phoned up and said, don’t worry about it, we have realized it will clash with Shabbat so we will move it for you.
“It was absolutely wonderful of them, and characteristic of the King.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)