The Prince and Princess of Wales will end their three-day trip to Boston on a high note, after being caught in the middle of a racism spat in a palace and then blindsided by a trailer for the Sussexes’ documentary.
A meeting with US President Joe Biden and a star-studded award ceremony for Prince William’s Earthshot prize for the environment were scheduled to wrap up a bumpy few days.
Friday’s Earthshot Ceremony, where Billie Eilish will headline a lineup that includes Annie Lennox, Ellie Goulding and Beyoncé protégés Chloe x Halle performing at MGM Music Hall in Boston, will mark Wales’ first visit to the end the US in eight years. years.
However, the headlines and TV bulletins inevitably centered on the royal racism squabble that engulfed William’s godmother, former lady-in-waiting Susan Hussey, again leading to the monarchy being accused of being institutionally racist, and about That Sussex trailer.
William and Kate were on the air, on their way to Boston, when Lady Hussey resigned her honorary position after making what Buckingham Palace described as “unacceptable and deeply regrettable” comments when she asked black charity founder Ngozi Fulani where she was “really from” at a palace reception .
Then, on their second day in the US, came the online release of the one-minute teaser for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s upcoming Netflix docuseries, complete with photos of Meghan apparently in tears and a thunderous-looking Kate.
As for the Walesians, a spokesman for Kensington Palace echoed comments made ahead of the visit that the couple would not be “distracted” by other business this week, and that their focus was on meeting communities and local people across Boston.
But reports from those on the scene with the pair indicated that this may be challenging. The Times suggested that the Sussexes had “deliberately torpedoed” the visit, saying the mood in Wales’s camp was one of “resignation, even amusement, rather than anger”. The Mail proclaimed it a “declaration of war” by the Sussexes. Sussex sources, meanwhile, have reportedly put the provocative timing squarely on Netflix’s doorstep.
While in Boston, where crowds braved the cold and rain to greet them, the Prince and Princess visited budding environmental tech entrepreneurs at Greentown Labs, and a very cold Boston waterfront area threatened by rising sea levels. They also visited Roca, a non-profit organization that focuses on urban youth violence, and sat on the court at an NBA game between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. The princess also visited the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.
Now in their second year, the Earthshot Awards see 15 finalists compete for £1 million each of the five category winners. Think of a cleaner type of stove in Kenya and a bubble screen in the Netherlands that prevents plastic from ending up in the oceans. Finalists from the UK for the first time include Notpla, which makes seaweed and plant-based packaging, and Low Carbon Materials, which uses plastic waste to make carbon-free concrete blocks.
Harry and Meghan are not expected to attend the environmental awards on Friday. However, they will fly to the East Coast next week to attend the Ripple of Hope human rights awards in New York on Tuesday, where they have been lauded for speaking out about the alleged racism they have experienced as part of the royal family.