“‘My grandmother was one of life’s optimists. And so am I.’ ”
That was Prince William speaking to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker as William and his wife, Princess Catherine (perhaps better known as Kate), arrived in Boston on Wednesday for their first visit to the U.S. in eight years.
Will and Kate will spend the next three days in Beantown leading up to the Earthshot Prize awards on Friday. That’s when Prince William will, in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Foundation, grant five global environmental prizes of 1 million pounds (equivalent to $1.2 million) each to innovative projects that are offering groundbreaking solutions to some of the world’s biggest environmental challenges. Performers at the star-studded awards gala will include Billie Eilish and Annie Lennox. Environmental advocate and “Planet Earth” narrator Sir David Attenborough will also attend.
Prince William kicked off the visit by remembering his late grandmother, Queen Elizabeth. In fact, he had been scheduled to visit New York in September, but that trip was canceled after Britain’s beloved monarch passed away.
“On this, our first overseas visit since the death of my grandmother, I would like to thank the people of Massachusetts and particularly of Boston for their many tributes paid to the late queen,” Prince William said after he and his wife stepped off of a commercial British Airways flight at Boston Logan International Airport on Wednesday. “She remembered her 1976 bicentennial visit with great fondness.”
There was plenty of excitement about the royal couple’s arrival on Twitter, where clips of the prince and princess were being shared.
The last time Will and Kate visited the U.S. was on a 2014 trip to New York City. Their current trip is following in the footsteps of the late Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, who visited Boston City Hall during America’s bicentennial celebrations in 1976. William and Kate were shown several photos from that 1976 trip and were reportedly touched by the display.
But the prince and princess’s trip to America was somewhat overshadowed on Wednesday by a flap involving William’s godmother, Lady Susan Hussey, who resigned from her role as a Buckingham Palace aide after making “unacceptable and deeply regrettable” remarks. Hussey had repeatedly asked a Black guest at a charity function on Tuesday where she was “really” from.
A spokesperson for Prince William told the BBC that Hussey’s comments were “unacceptable” and that “racism has no place in our society.”