It’s been eight years since Prince William and Princess Kate stepped onto American shores.
The last time they were in the States, on a visit to NYC back in December 2014, Prince William was not even a full-time working royal.
His brother, Prince Harry, was still single and his future bride Meghan Markle was merely an actress on “Suits.”
But as William and Kate — the new Prince and Princess of Wales since Queen Elizabeth’s September 8 death and Prince Charles becoming king — arrive in Boston Wednesday to present the Earthshot Prize, it’s with a clear mission to show how much things have changed. And to claim the crown of the royal family’s No. 1 couple.
Although palace sources are keen to stress that the Waleses’ US visit is not an official tour, there’s a lot riding on the three-day trip — particularly as Harry and Meghan will jet to NYC on December 6, just four days after Kate and William leave the States, to pick up the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope award.
One well-placed royal insider told Page Six that the brothers’ opposite missions underscore a big point: “It’s not bad to receive an award, but it shows the fundamental difference between [William and Kate] — who have constitutional roles, who are working on behalf of others — versus being a celebrity.
“They were always famous, but now they’re reached a different stage in their public lives — they’re different types of figures.”
Harry and Meghan are receiving the Kennedy honor for what Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of RFK, said exemplified “moral courage” against injustice.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 tarnished the royal family as the couple painted a grim picture of their time behind palace walls, even going as far to accuse senior royals of racism.
“We’re very much not a racist family,” William blasted in reply.
The Boston visit is a photo opportunity for Kate, 40, to publicly connect herself further with the last Princess of Wales: her late mother-in-law, Diana, who made a huge impression on the United States with her humanitarian visits.
It’s a “real opportunity for a big wow moment,” said Bethan Holt, Fashion Director of the Telegraph and author of several books on royal fashion.
“If anyone can combine talking about something very seriously with delivering this huge boost of glamour and royalty it’s William and Kate,” Holt told Page Six. “This is a big chance for the British segment of the royal family to make a big splash and remind everyone why they are loved and to re-establish that connection.”
For a South African state banquet at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, Kate wore the Lover’s Knot tiara — a diamond-and-pearl number said to have been Diana’s favorite. The late princess was photographed in it many times.
Kate, and William, 40, will also be following in his mother’s footsteps by reaching out to underrepresented communities, just as Diana did on her 1989 NYC trip when she visited young AIDS patients in Harlem.
“The Prince and Princess didn’t want to come in for the awards show and then leave, they wanted to spend time getting to know communities in Boston,” said a source close to the couple.
There’s also an interesting sibling tie with the royals’ East Coast visits. While Harry is receiving an award from a foundation affiliated with RFK, the prince’s older brother has chosen to align himself with the assassinated politician’s older brother.
William was inspired to choose Boston for Friday’s star-studded awards ceremony by John F. Kennedy and his ambitious 1962 “Moon Shot” speech.
“I am so excited to celebrate these fifteen finalists and see the five winners of the Earthshot Prize announced in Boston — the hometown of President John F. Kennedy, who shared The Earthshot Prize’s belief that seemingly impossible goals are within reach if we only harness the limitless power of innovation, human ingenuity, and urgent optimism,” William has said.
“The Earthshot Prize is the Prince of Wales’ Super Bowl moment — and he wants to use the platform in a positive, optimistic way to shine a way on climate change and the environment,” said the source close to the Waleses.
The award, which will honor five visionaries with a $1.2 million prize for creative solutions to global environmental problems, is William’s brainchild.
“This all started for Prince William back in 2018 to make a bigger impact on climate change and wider issues including nature and air quality,” a palace source told Page Six.
“People accepted the science getting pretty gloomy … [but] there is great work around the world from people who need to make their solutions famous and we want to demand their companies and governments get behind these innovators.”
Four days after the Waleses leave the US, Harry and Meghan will accept an award at the Ripple of Hope gala, in Manhattan, for speaking out against the royal family. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is also receiving the award.
Kerry Kennedy told Spanish online news site El Confidencial of the Sussexes: “They went to the oldest institution in UK history and told them what they were doing wrong, that they couldn’t have structural racism within the institution; that they could not maintain a misunderstanding about mental health,” she continued, referring to Oprah Winfrey interview and the British monarchy.
“They knew that if they did this there would be consequences, that they would be ostracized, they would lose their family, their position within this structure, and that people would blame them for it. They have done it anyway because they believed they couldn’t live with themselves if they didn’t question this authority. I think they have been heroic in taking this step.”
But Kennedy’s words came under fire by Piers Morgan, who said on “Fox and Friends”: “I think it’s absolutely disgusting and shame on Kerry Kennedy, frankly, for besmirching the name and memory of her father in this way.” Kerry’s own brother Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has said he was “bewildered” and “baffled” by the choice of the Sussexes for the award.
The Earthshot awards ceremony will air on PBS on December 5. Days later, the Sussexes’ Netflix docu-series is set to launch, swiftly followed by Harry’s tell-all memoir, “Spare,” which promises “raw, unflinching honesty” when it is published on January 10.
Meanwhile, the close Wales source said, “The Prince and Princess of Wales will be focused on getting on with the job at hand. They are not going to be distracted.”
Added the well-placed royal source, “Look, everyone wants Harry and Meghan to be happy and focus on the future — you have a beautiful family, it’s time to get on with it.
“For the Prince and Princess of Wales, their belief is ‘Life’s too short and there’s too much to do’. You get on with your lives and your work without having to worry about any games from anyone else.”
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