For all of the heavy security and mystique surrounding the royal visit, the Prince of Wales, it turns out, is really just “one of the bros.”
Just a couple of days ago, Ramirez and his close friend, Justo Idrogo, were home in Laredo, Tx., more than 2,000 miles from Boston, a city they’d never visited before. But on Wednesday, after an impromptu trip that first took them to New York City this week, the pair found themselves sitting close to court-side during the game between the Celtics and the Heat.
Unbeknownst to the two friends, there were some royal visitors in town for a short trip of their own.
Ramirez, 24, said he was casually recording the game on his phone when Idrogo, 26, started shouting excitedly as William and his wife, Catherine, headed to their seats.
“My brother goes crazy, he’s like, ‘Yo, yo, look!’ And at first, I was like, ‘Wait, who is this? Who is this?’ And he’s like, ‘Prince William!’ And I’m just like, ‘What, no way!’ So then I start recording them,” Ramirez said.
Once half-time rolled around, and the game was about to start up again, William and Kate began greeting fans eager to meet them. Throughout the game, Ramirez said, the couple was waving to people around them and even snapped a few pictures.
Ramirez said he quickly picked up that William seemed like “such a chill guy,” as he gave out handshakes to nearby fans.
But as William got closer to them, Ramirez thought, “there’s no way this is going to happen.”
Ramirez and Idrogo getting to meet a member of royalty? During a spur of the moment trip? Impossible.
Ramirez watched as others courteously shook hands with William. But given the rare opportunity, Ramirez decided he was going to take his shot — and go in for the fist-bump.
“I gotta get a fist-bump because he’s a guy. I’m a guy. We relate like that,” Ramirez said. “He’s one of the bros.”
He held his arm out, hand clenched in a fist. William looked down and played into it, reciprocating the gesture. William then flashed a wide smile and continued on.
Ramirez posted a video of the encounter on Facebook.
“I’m just like, ‘There’s no way this guy literally just did that. That’s the highlight of my day,’” Ramirez said. “Literally two days ago you’re bordering Mexico. Today you’re at a game fist-bumping Prince William. Who can say that?”
Ramirez said he and Idrogo wouldn’t have visited Boston if not for the recommendation of a physician assistant he’s shadowing in his hometown. Buying tickets to the Celtics game was also a last minute decision.
Although the friends are only in the area for a short time — they’re planning to stop by Harvard University — the trip has “definitely [been] one for the books.”
“I feel like people get all hyped up about like, ‘He’s royalty and this and that,’” Ramirez said. “The way I first saw [William] was as a chill dude.”
Ramirez wasn’t the only person at the game who got the opportunity to meet the royals.
Ollie Perrault, 15, was honored with the “Heroes Among Us” award Wednesday night, in recognition of her work addressing the climate crisis, an issue at the heart of William and Kate’s visit.
The royal couple is in the city for a three-day trip that will end with the Earthshot Prize awards ceremony Friday night, at MGM Music Hall. They will award five winners $1.2 million each for their role in combating climate change.
The Easthampton teenager, who is a founder and director of Youth Climate Action Now and a Mass Audubon Youth Climate Leader, spoke with the royal couple for several minutes about her efforts during the game.
Perrault said she found out that William and Kate would be there just hours before she went onto the court to receive the award. At first she was nervous about the encounter, and wondered if she should curtsy or address them a certain way.
But she ended up just shaking their hands — and from there, Perrault “kind of just jumped into it.”
“When young people start to view our age and our youngness as a tool to inspire, change, and encourage direct action, that is when we are going to have the biggest impact,” she said.
The whole experience, she said, was “surreal.”
“They were both so incredibly nice and so supportive,” Perrault said. “I feel incredibly hopeful meeting them to know that there are people in power that see that the climate crisis is the ultimate issue, and they really recognize that we need to be acting now to solve this.”
Perrault said her biggest takeaway from the “life-changing night” is recognizing that many people — including William and Kate — are open and ready to support youth climate activists.
“I feel incredibly supported by them, and really, really grateful for the opportunity to meet them,” she said.