William and Kate strived today to turn the spotlight back onto the overarching crisis of climate change, and away from the latest round of royal scandals which threatened to engulf their first overseas tour since the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
From the moment the Prince and Princess of Wales touched down in Boston on Wednesday, their trip has been overshadowed by a new racism scandal out of Buckingham Palace, followed by Netflix’s slickly-timed drop of Prince Harry and Meghan’s Netflix show teaser. The docuseries is likely to contain more criticism of the British royal family after Harry and Meghan stepped down from official duties three years ago over allegations of racism.
On Thursday, William and Kate soldiered on with the tour which will conclude tomorrow with the Earthshot Prize awards, a competition devised by Prince William to celebrate and scale climate-fighting innovations with millions of dollars in prize money.
Today’s events focused on how the coastal city of Boston is tackling serious climate-driven threats including rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and worsening storms.
The couple started at Greentown Labs in Somerville, the United States’ largest clean-tech incubator for start-ups and entrepreneurs which has created more than 9,000 jobs.
They chatted with Julie Angus, CEO and co-founder of Open Ocean Robotics which creates solar-powered autonomous boats to provide real-time ocean information. She showed them data monitoring from one of the company’s boats.
“Five knots? That’s quite quick,” Prince William responded.
As they left, the royals were met by Henry Dynov-Teixeira, eight, in a King’s Guard costume who presented Kate with flowers.
Later, they traveled to East Boston to meet with residents of a neighborhood facing issues of environmental justice, and vulnerable to flooding and storm surge.
At Boston Harbor, the royals heard from environmental groups on projects to build up resilience of the city’s shoreline with coastal defenses.
The couple had arrived in the city on Wednesday where they met with Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and lit up the city hall in green lights to launch the Earthshot celebrations. They later attended a Boston Celtics game, where the basketball team wore green shirts in honor of the prize.
William and Kate flew in from London on a commercial British Airways flight where the couple were pictured chatting with fellow passengers in first-class.
The images were shared by Tiffany Chan, a reporter at WBZ.
“FIRST GLIMPSE! Passengers on the British Airways flight to Boston said the Royal couple was ‘utterly delightful’. The Prince and Princess of Wales spoke briefly to the others in first class — explaining why they are coming to Boston,” she tweeted.
The royals’ three-day visit will culminate on Friday. They’ll attend the second annual Earthshot awards ceremony at Boston’s MGM Music Hall, featuring appearances by Billie Eilish, Annie Lennox and videos including one narrated by Sir David Attenborough.
Inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s “Moonshot” – which spurred American to put man on the moon – the Earthshot prize finalists include innovations for transforming desert landscapes to agriculture to edible plastic alternatives made from seaweed.