The Royal Visit: The Earthshot Prize Awards, Bostonian Perspective, and Controversy


Molly Ryan, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Over the weekend, eager patrons gathered to get a glimpse of royalty! Bostonians welcomed Prince William and Princess Catherine of Wales, as they ventured to Boston for the 2022 Earthshot Prize Awards. Touching down on a commercial plane, the Prince and Princess showcased their commitment to limiting their carbon footprint as they embarked on their climate advocacy campaign. 

The royals modeled a modest and climate-conscious agenda. Their first engagement was meeting with Boston Mayor Michele Wu. Afterward, they engaged in a public appearance outside of City Hall. Over 1,000 patrons watched as they thanked Mayor Wu and the people of Boston for supporting the Earthshot Awards. 

Prince William introduced the Earthshot Awards in 2021 to award five winners with $1.2 million toward innovative climate change solutions. The project is working to build a more sustainable world by 2030. This year, Prince William brought the project to Boston to pay tribute to the American president who inspired his climate mission—John F. Kennedy. Citing that Kennedy’s infamous Moonshot Speech inspired the project, Prince William revealed the similarities between the space race and the imperative need for climate action. Prince William and Princess Catherine also admired Kennedy’s leadership. The New York Times reported on the event. Prince William said, “Like President Kennedy, Catherine and I firmly believe that we all have it in ourselves to achieve great things, and that human beings have the ability to lead, innovate and problem solve.”

The royal couple brought a promising incentive of unity and global partnership as the need for climate action becomes more urgent. However, Bostonians were quick to criticize the family. According to the New York Times, some were not a fan of the royal visit. A local woman claimed, “It makes sense, even centuries later, that Boston can’t care about the monarchy.” While Boston is historically known for its rejection of the British monarch, many still enjoy the elegance of the royal family. Scituate High School history teacher Kristen Emerson is a long-time royal enthusiast. Emerson emphasized she was “excited” about their visit but was disappointed by Princess Catherine’s fashion choices. Citing the irony of her “admittedly gorgeous coat,” Emerson was upset that it was the 14th green coat she owns. As Princess Catherine voiced the importance of sustainability, Emerson questioned, “Why do we need so many green coats?” 

On Thursday, the couple visited a climate tech startup, Greentown Labs; they also visited Roca, a nonprofit focused on reducing youth violence. On Friday, the British couple attended separate engagements focused on their individual global goals. Harvard University students were on the lookout for Princess Catherine as she visited Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child. Prince William toured the John F. Kennedy Library with JFK’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, where he met with President Biden.

For the final appearance of the elaborate three-day tour, the royal couple attended the star-studded Earthshot Prize Awards where artists such as Billie Eilish and Ellie Goulding performed. Here, the five winners of the Earthshot Prizes were announced. The awards will financially support projects ranging from indigenous women rangers protecting coral reefs in Australia to the Greenhouse-in-a-Box project in India. 

The Earthshot Prize Awards created optimism for climate change solutions. Unfortunately, the event and the royal tour was overshadowed by a royal scandal: Prince William’s godmother and royal aide was forced to resign after making racist comments toward the founder of a domestic abuse charity for women of African and Caribbean heritage. As Prince William and Princess Catherine work to stay on the right side of history, royal scandals continue to occur.

Nonetheless, this historic visit was the first time the royal couple came to the United States since 2014 and was their first tour abroad since receiving their new titles of Prince and Princess. While Americans’ perspectives of the British royal family differ, the royal couple’s visit to Boston proved their commitment to mitigating climate change.

To learn more about the Earthshot Prize and its mission, go to