The idea of a royal visit to Israel took a step closer on Thursday, after a senior Whitehall source said it was on the cards.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin invited Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh to the Jewish state earlier in the week, in a message conveyed to visiting Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

On Thursday, The Times reported that Whitehall sources said that a royal visit to Israel had been under discussion for some time, but that The Queen, now 90, was cutting back on foreign travel.

Rivlin has said Britain’s Royal Family would visit Israel to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, which marked the UK’s commitment to the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

Buckingham Palace said it would act on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, adding that Prince Philip last visited Israel in 1994, to visit the grave of his mother, Princess Alice, who is buried at the Mount of Olives.

She was recognised as ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ by Yad Vashem for sheltering Jews during the Holocaust.