On the second day of their whirlwind visit, the Prince and Princess of Wales spent time in Somerville and Chelsea on Thursday, meeting with local leaders and learning about the work being done to combat climate change.
William and Kate began the day in Somerville, where they visited Greentown Labs, a hub for “climatech” companies and the largest clean-tech incubator in North America. They learned about how the incubator “is contributing to global efforts to address the climate crisis,” Kensington Palace said in a statement.
Camped across the street from the labs, dozens of fans stood in the early morning cold, hoping to see the royal couple.
Liz Leach, of Smithfield, R.I., woke up at 4:30 a.m. to make sure she got to Somerville in time, seeing the sunrise as she approached Boston before arriving around 7 a.m.
“I just had to get a glimpse of the prince and princess,” she said. “This is probably one of the best days of my life.”
Joanie Shute, who recently retired after working for the city of Somerville for 34 years, tromped up the sidewalk carrying warm drinks and bouquets of flowers.
“These are for the princess!” she said.
Henry Dynov-Teixeira, an 8-year-old who lives in Somerville, had the same idea. He carried red roses, which matched his ornate King’s Guard costume, which he was delighted to dust off when he and his mom learned of the royal visit.
By 10 a.m. the crowd had swelled to 300.
Next on their agenda was a trip to Chelsea to visit Roca to learn about the nonprofit’s work with high-risk youth, and spend time with women in the young mothers’ program and current and former members of the men’s program. When they arrived shortly before noon, cheers broke out as William and Kate exited their car and made their way to the entrance.
Roca’s founder, Molly Baldwin, and Chelsea city manager Tom Ambrosino were waiting to greet the couple and lead them on a tour. After hearing about the nonprofit’s history, William and Kate met with a young man and his mentor and with two young mothers.
It was a full visit that left little time for food, but Roca’s executive vice president of operations, Dwight Robson, said “it is our understanding that the royals like Pringles, so we do have some of those, along with water in glass pitchers, for sustainability.”
As the couple left, William thanked the staff and participants who filled the entrance hall for their work with Roca over the years. Mothers held babies on their hips and stood by the door as the prince and princess stopped to shake their hands and greet their smiling children.
“Hoping it all goes well for the future,” William said. “We’ve really enjoyed making this connection.”
The couple arrived in Boston Wednesday for a three-day visit that features the star-studded Earthshot Prize awards ceremony Friday. They were greeted with a warm reception at their first public engagement at City Hall Plaza, where thousands gathered on a cold, windy afternoon, and later watched the Boston Celtics defeat the Miami Heat at TD Garden with Mayor Michelle Wu and Governor-elect Maura Healey.
“It was the Moonshot speech that inspired me to launch The Earthshot Prize with the aim of doing the same for climate change as President Kennedy did for the space race,” William said to an enthusiastic crowd on City Hall Plaza Wednesday.
William said Kennedy “laid down a challenge to American innovation and ingenuity.” He also quoted the former president, saying, “We choose to go to the moon, not because it is easy but because it was hard.”
Kate and William will host Friday’s event at MGM Music Hall, and award five winners $1.2 million each for their role in combating the climate crisis. The 15 finalists for the prize were unveiled early last month.
Shannon Larson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98. Sabrina Shankman can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @shankman. Ivy Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @itsivyscott.