LONDON — Queen of the Prince and Princess of Wales II. Elizabeth’s first overseas trip since her death begins Wednesday, offering the opportunity to show the world who they are as well as who they are not.
The couple hopes to show how successful the couple has been with a three-day visit to Boston focused on Prince William’s initiative to find the next generation of environmental entrepreneurs, supported by trips to the anti-poverty program, child development researchers and local flood defenses. Not the last remnants of a dying institution. Instead, Americans will see the youthful face of a monarchy grappling with important issues as it tries to survive in modern, multicultural Britain.
The visit comes less than three months after Elizabeth’s death, whose personal popularity dampened criticism against the crown during her 70-year reign. William’s father, King William III.
“I think it’s more about saving the royal family than it’s about saving the Earth,” said Boston University professor Arianne Chernock, a specialist in modern British history. said. “Honestly, we saw Charles as king, and we saw his first months in that position trying to find his own way, to find his way into a more meaningful, more modern monarch. I think we see something similar in William and Kate.”
Part of that reset includes reclaiming the hearts and minds of people in America, where William has dominated the media since his younger brother Prince Harry and sister-in-law Meghan moved to California in 2020. Harry and Meghan criticized the royal family. He accused the family of alleged racism and insensitive treatment and created his own media profiles by making movies and podcasts for Netflix and Spotify.
The Netflix series “The Crown” recreated some of the more troubled times of the House of Windsor, including Charles’ marriage to William’s mother, the late Princess Diana, which ended amid allegations of mutual infidelity.
But William and Kate are keen to tell a different story about their work in environmental issues, mental health and early childhood education.
At a gala concert celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June, William gave a speech highlighting his grandparents’ pioneering work on the environment, while images of the jungle and ocean were projected onto the walls of Buckingham Palace behind him.
Last week, Kate wrote an opinion piece on the need to improve the lives of young children in The Daily Telegraph, one of Britain’s most influential newspapers, alongside a photo of the princess sitting cross-legged among a group of primary school students.
“Over the past 10 years, while talking to a wide variety of experts about how we deal with societal issues such as poor mental and physical health, I’ve become more and more certain of one thing: If we’re going to create a healthier and happier society. We must begin by recognizing and recognizing the unique importance of the first five years of life for future generations.”
William and Kate’s last visit to the United States was in 2014, shortly after their wedding. During this trip, the glamorous young couple was entertained as they toured the eastern United States.
Eight years later, the prince and princess, now in their 40s and with three young children, are finally engaged again.
It is symbolic that they chose Boston, the birthplace of President John F. Kennedy, as their destination. Kennedy’s 1962 speech set out the goal of sending humans to the moon by the end of that decade, and inspired William’s Earthshot Award later this year, which seeks solutions to climate change and other environmental problems.
The mission begins Wednesday, with William and Kate meeting with Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and visiting the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library and Museum with the late president’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy.
Later in the week, they will visit Roca Inc. and highlight the racial equality group’s efforts to improve the lives of young people by addressing issues such as poverty, incarceration and trauma from urban violence. They will also visit Harvard University’s Center for the Developing Child, which is a leader in research into the long-term effects of early childhood experiences.
But throughout the journey, William will have his eye on the Earthshot Award.
“By focusing on the environment and specifically climate change, it will frustrate the royal family in the United States, where many people still deny the existence of man-made global warming,” said author, social commentator and Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn. The royal family’s ability to shine a light on the subject and combine their reputation with entertainers like Billie Eilish, who will star in the awards show, will likely grab people’s attention.
Quinn said that if nothing else, it would put a face on the subject and make it more understandable than the technical presentations of scientists.
“Obviously the media and attention will be fine, not just because they’re famous and royalty, but because they’re serious people who care about issues,” Quinn said. “I mean, they’re not frivolous. They don’t go to parties. They don’t dance around tables every night. They’re really hard-working royalty and issues they care about.”
Earthshot awards £1 million ($1.2 million) prize money to the winners of five separate categories: nature conservation, clean air, rejuvenating the oceans, eliminating waste and climate change. The winners and all 15 finalists also receive assistance in expanding their projects to meet global demand.
The winners will be announced Friday at Boston’s MGM Music Hall as part of a flamboyant show directed by Eilish, Annie Lennox, Ellie Goulding and Chloe x Halle. The show will also feature videos voiced by naturalist David Attenborough and actor Cate Blanchett.
BBC’s Clara Amfo and American actor-producer Daniel Dae Kim were selected as co-hosts. Award presenters include actors Rami Malek, Catherine O’Hara and Shailene Woodley.
The ceremony is scheduled to air on BBC in the UK, PBS in the US and Multichoice in Africa on Sunday.
“We’re in this moment where there are so many possibilities for how the royal family envisions itself going forward, and everyone really thinks Kate and William are the future of this institution,” said Chernock. “And so we have to be really careful with the way they reintroduce themselves to the public in Queen Elizabeth’s absence.”