The Prince and Princess of Wales will end their three-day trip to Boston on a high note, landing amid a palace racism row before being blindsided by a trailer for a Sussex documentary.
A meeting with Joe Biden and the star-studded presentation of the Prince William Champion of the Earth award were planned to cap what could be a bumpy few days.
On Friday night, William met with the president of the United States, shaking hands and chatting near the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library and Museum. PA media reported that Biden joked that William wore only a suit instead of a winter coat in the cold weather, asking, “Where’s your top?”
William replied, “Mr. President, it’s a pleasure to see you again.”
The Prince of Wales also joined the late president’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, and paid tribute to “the men who inspired our mission” in his 1962 moon landing speech, which put America on the path to the moon. The Royal Medal recognizes a similar level of innovation.
The Earthshot ceremony will take place later on Friday when Billie Eilish will lead a line-up that includes Annie Lennox, Ellie Goulding and Beyoncé proteges Chloe x Halle at MGM Music Hall in Boston, which will end the Welshman’s 8-year run .
However, the headlines and TV announcements were inevitably about the royal racist dispute engulfing William’s godmother and former maid of honor, Susan Hussey, which again led to the monarchy being accused of institutional racism and about That Sussex Trailer.
Mrs Hussey made “unacceptable and deeply regrettable” remarks at Buckingham Palace as William and Kate were on their way to Boston, asking black charity founder Ngozi Fulani where she “really came from” resigned from her honorary post after a palace reception
Then, on their second day in the US, a one-minute trailer for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s upcoming Netflix documentary series was released online, featuring photos of Meghan apparently in tears and a beaming Kate.
As far as the Welshman is concerned, a Kensington Palace spokesperson reiterated comments made before the visit that the couple will not be “distracted” by other things this week and that their focus will be on meeting the Boston community and locals.
But reports from people on the ground who have been with the couple suggest that could be a challenge. The Times suggested the Sussexes had “deliberately sabotaged” the visit, saying the mood within the Welsh camp was one of “subordination, even entertainment, rather than anger”. The Daily Mail called it a “declaration of war” by the Sussexes. Meanwhile, Sussex sources reportedly put provocative timing squarely on Netflix’s door.
Braving the cold and rain to greet them in Boston, the prince and princess also visited budding environmental tech entrepreneurs at Greentown Labs and the very frigid Boston waterfront threatened by rising sea levels. They also visited Roca, a nonprofit that focuses on urban youth violence, and sat courtside at an NBA game between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. The princess also visited the Harvard Child Development Center.
At the Earthshot Awards, now in its second year, 15 finalists will compete for five winners of £1 million each. They include a clean cookstove in Kenya and a bubble barrier in the Netherlands that prevents plastic from entering the ocean. First-time UK finalists are Notpla, which makes seaweed and plant-based packaging, and Low Carbon Materials, which uses plastic waste to create zero-carbon concrete blocks.
Harry and Meghan are not expected to attend Friday’s environmental awards ceremony. However, they will fly to the East Coast next week for the Hope Wave Human Rights Awards ceremony in New York on Tuesday, where they were feted for speaking out about the alleged racism they experienced as royals.