Not only has the trip reinforced William’s popularity in the states, more importantly it cemented his status as a global figure on the world stage. “We are seeing William put front and center on the international stage,” observed Russell, author of The Palace, who added that William has put his own stamp on the role of Prince of Wales.
“Charles was very active as Prince of Wales—setting up the Prince’s Trust, etc.—but he only emerged as a statesman later on once he had carved out a role for himself. There was a sustained campaign to make him a more visible public prince, but as Charles was entering his 40s, his marriage was falling apart, which was very obvious on his and Diana’s final overseas tour to South Korea. His private life overshadowed foreign visits. That isn’t the case with William who has a very happy married life and a very supportive loyal wife in Kate.”
Although Kate was not in the States with William this time, as she had a number of solo engagements in the UK, she has been hugely supportive of Earthshot and attended last year’s awards ceremony in a dazzling green dress. The king is also behind William’s conservation efforts and helped guide him when he was in the early stages of developing Earthshot.
“William has the full support of his wife and his father which is very important to him. The king has given him a lot of freedom and is allowing William to carve his own identity as Prince of Wales,” an insider revealed.
Part of this has been allowing William to flex his muscle when it comes to soft power. In recent years, he has carried out politically sensitive trips to the Middle East and earlier this year visited the Polish Ukraine border to see Ukrainian troops. “He certainly is not afraid of visiting difficult locations. He went to a war zone, he went to America where there was a perception about him based on his brother’s memoir and in all of this he has emerged very well. People see him as a man of substance and gravitas which has made him very popular,” said Russell.