(BOSTON, Mass.) — Prince William thanked the “people of Boston” as he and his wife Kate arrived in the city to kick off their first U.S. tour in nearly a decade.
Their whirlwind tour ends with an awards ceremony for the Earthshot Prize, an initiative William launched in 2019 to create solutions for environmental problems.
This is William and Kate’s first visit to the United States since they visited New York City in 2014. It is also their first overseas trip since the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September and their first overseas trip since taking on the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales.
“[William and Kate] are both excited for their first international trip since taking on their new roles,” a Kensington Palace spokesperson told ABC News. “Both appreciate the history associated to the titles but understandably want to look to the future and pave their own paths.”
Check back for updates throughout their trip.
William and Kate light Boston green
William and Kate’s first stop on their Boston trip was Boston City Hall.
They were greeted by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, the first woman and first person of color to be elected as mayor in the city last year, and U.S. Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy.
In honor of the Earthshot Prize, which was inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot Initiative, the couple helped light Boston buildings and landmarks green.
In his address to Mayor Wu and the crowd at Boston City Hall, Prince William thanked Wu and Reverend White-Hammond for their support for the Earthshot Prize. He also noted why Boston was the “obvious choice for the Earthshot Prize in its second year” and said he was inspired by President Kennedy’s moonshot speech to launch the Earthshot Prize.
“Sixty years ago, President John F. Kennedy’s ‘moonshot’ speech laid down a challenge to American innovation and ingenuity,” Prince William began. “‘We chose to go to the moon,’ he said, ‘not because it is easy, but because it is hard.'”
“Where better to hold this year’s awards ceremony than in President Kennedy’s hometown, in partnership with his daughter and the foundation that continues in his name,” he added. “Boston was also the obvious choice because our universities, research centres and vibrant start-up scene make you a global leader in science, innovation and boundless ambition. Mayor Wu, you have also been a leader in putting climate policies at the heart of your administration. Thank you.”
“Like President Kennedy, Catherine and I firmly believe that we all have it in ourselves to achieve great things, and that human beings have the ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve,” William said. “We cannot wait to celebrate the Earthshot Prize later this week, and we are both looking forward to spending the next few days learning about the innovative ways the people of Massachusetts are tackling climate change.”
President Biden to greet Prince William and Kate in Boston on Friday
Earlier on Wednesday during a White House press briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden “intends to greet the prince and princess of Wales” on Friday when he is in Boston. The White House previously announced that Biden would be in Boston this week for a fundraiser.
William and Kate arrive in Boston
Upon their arrival in Boston Wednesday morning, William said he and Kate are “delighted to be back in the United States.” He also used the moment to reflect about his grandmother, who celebrated her 1976 bicentennial in the U.S.
“On this, our first visit since the death of my grandmother, I would like to thank the people of Massachusetts and particularly of Boston for their many tributes to the late queen. She remembered her 1976 bicentennial visit with great fondness,” William said in a statement.
“My grandmother was one of life’s optimists. And so am I,” he added. “To the people of Boston, thank you. I’m so grateful to you for allowing us to host the second year of the Earthshot Prize in your great city. Catherine and I can’t wait to meet many of you in the days ahead.”
Spokesperson for William addresses racism accusations surrounding godmother
As William and Kate were making their way to Boston, a controversy erupted in the U.K. involving William’s godmother, Lady Susan Hussey.
Hussey, a longtime lady-in-waiting to the late queen, was accused of making racist remarks to an attendee at a reception hosted by Queen Escort Camilla on Tuesday at Buckingham Palace.
On Wednesday, Buckingham Palace said it had launched an investigation into the allegation and said Hussey had “stepped aside from her honorary role.”
A spokesperson for William commented on the incident while briefing reporters ahead of William and Kate’s arrival in Boston.
“This is a matter for Buckingham Palace but as the Prince of Wales’ spokesperson, I appreciate you’re all here and understand you’ll want to ask about it. So let me address it head on,” the spokesperson said. “I was really disappointed to hear about the guest’s experience at Buckingham Palace last night.”
He continued, “Obviously, I wasn’t there, but racism has no place in our society. The comments were unacceptable and it is right that the individual has stepped aside with immediate effect.”
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