Yesterday, upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the British government announced that her son Charles has become king. Ron Kampeas describes King Charles III’s first encounter with a rabbi, among other details about the royal family and Anglo-Jewry:
The Windsors, perhaps heeding fanciful notions that Britons were descended from a lost tribe, had their sons circumcised—something that was unusual at the time. The practice among royals predated by at least a century the belief that circumcision may be medically beneficial. Elizabeth, wanting a professional to do the job, brought in a mohel named Jacob Snowman.
The hiring of Snowman for such delicate work characterized the close relationship between the British princess and the Jewish community, one that continued when she assumed the throne. The Jewish community sent her birthday greetings not long after she ascended to the throne, and she eagerly thanked the chief rabbi at the time for the message in 1952.
As Marc Davis explains, the tradition of royal circumcision, “goes as far back as King George I, who reigned from 1714 to 1727. Years later, believing they descended directly from King David, Queen Victoria had all her sons circumcised, too. And Queen Elizabeth II continued the tradition.”