On Wednesday, the Prince and Princess of Wales were greeted by torrential rain on their first trip to the US since 2014, but it didn’t stop a crowd from gathering to see the couple on the steps of Boston City Hall. In a speech discussing the Earthshot Prize, the climate prize he founded in 2020, he thanked “all the hardy Bostonians for braving the rain this evening,” speaking in front of a sea of umbrellas. William and Kate stood onstage alongside Boston’s Mayor Michelle Wu and Massachusetts governor-elect Maura Healy, and the group watched as green lights illuminated City Hall.
William and Kate arrived at Logan airport on Wednesday afternoon for a series of largely climate-focused events before a Friday ceremony where the winners of the Earthshot Prize will be announced, along with performances from Billie Eilish, Ellie Goulding, and a handful of celebrity presenters. Before the public ceremony, William and Kate met with Wu, her husband Conor Pewarski, and their two sons, Blaise and Cass, where the group discussed composting and Kate, wearing a Burberry dress, inquired about the boys’ schoolwork. Wu also showed the prince and princess black-and-white photos of Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to the city in 1976.
A travel disruption prevented Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, who is helping to plan the Friday’s Earthshot Awards, from attending, but William thanked her and mentioned her father, former president John F. Kennedy, quoting one of his famous lines. “Sixty years ago, President John F. Kennedy’s “Moonshot” speech laid down a challenge to American innovation and ingenuity. ‘We choose to go to the moon,’ he said, ‘not because it is easy but because it is hard,’” he said. “It was that Moonshot speech that inspired me to launch the Earthshot Prize with the aim of doing the same for climate change as President Kennedy did for the space race.”
The first Earthshot Prize ceremony took place in London in 2021, and on Wednesday, William said that Boston was the “obvious choice” for the second ceremony because it was the former president’s hometown, the home to the foundation that carries on his work, and a center for science and innovation, which are at the heart of the Earthshot Prize. “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 and Kate have never visited the city on official duties, but many members of his family have. In 1976, Prince Philip and the late queen made an extended visit to the US for the country’s bicentennial celebration, sailing from the UK to Boston in the royal yacht. She became the first reigning British monarch to visit the city where the Revolutionary War began. In 1986, King Charles III, then the Prince of Wales, visited to deliver a speech at the 350th anniversary celebrations for Harvard University.
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