Laura Raposa, the longtime gossip reporter for the Boston Herald’s Inside Track column, left her job in 2013, and has been hyper-focused on running a popular Duxbury bakery ever since.
Not once has the owner of The Foodsmith looked north to Boston and regretted the change of pace, or wished she was back at her old post chasing down celebrity scoops.
Then this week arrived.
With a deluge of celebrities that includes the Prince and Princess of Wales, actors, and pop stars swarming Boston to attend the Earthshot Prize awards ceremony Friday, mixed in with a coincidental visit from President Biden, the unprecedented collection of notable people here at once has her longing for her former gig for the first time in awhile.
“This is huge. It’s overload,” said Raposa of the unusual crush of star power. “There will never be anything like this again.”
Sure, there have been plenty of opportunities to see celebrities in Boston en masse over the years: Big playoff games and duck boat victory parades; an occasional star-studded movie set or red carpet event; or large political gatherings like the 2004 Democratic National Convention come to mind.
But to have Prince William and his wife, Catherine, arrive here to host the second annual Earthshot awards, a climate change-centric event with international appeal, is something else entirely.
Pop star Billie Eilish is set to take the stage at the Friday night gathering, which will be held at Fenway’s MGM Music Hall. The teen pop icon will be joined by Annie Lenox, Ellie Goulding, and sibling duo Chloe x Halle.
Also expected at the venue are actors Daniel Dae Kim, Catherine O’Hara, Rami Malek, and Shailene Woodley, along with naturalist Sir David Attenborough and broadcaster Clara Amfo.
Filling out the house at the invite-only affair will likely be a long list of environmentally conscious celebrities that haven’t yet been announced, Raposa and others have said.
This, of course, will all coincide with the arrival of Biden, who just so happens to be attending a fundraiser in the city Friday. He will greet William at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in the afternoon, making this week a sort-of gossip column Super Bowl — and then some.
“This would have been the pinnacle of my career right here,” Raposa said. “The celebrity wattage is really, extremely, extremely bright. It really is. And I’m so jealous.”
Even AAA Northeast has taken notice of this unusual abundance of famous faces.
On Wednesday, the road service organization warned motorists about the “royally difficult congestion” they should expect from the confluence of events, a perfect storm for traffic in the Greater Boston region.
“Drivers are likely to see reduced parking and temporary road closures as the high-profile visitors carry out their itineraries,” they said in a statement, adding that drivers should also be mindful of rubber-neckers in cars, on bikes, and on foot who “could be in the area to catch a glimpse of the royal couple” and others.
Meanwhile, they added, Biden’s political event will only add “to the potential for significant traffic disruptions and road closures.”
Attracting a coterie of stars and glitzing up the $1.2 million prizes with an award ceremony is all part of the royal couple’s public relations strategy, said Elizabeth Holmes, a bestselling author and expert on royal family fashion.
“It draws buzz to the brand,” Holmes said. “They could just give out the prizes and not bring in all these fancy performers, but the royal family is good at choreographing these big moments and spreading its reach.”
Whether residents love or hate the attention this has brought to Boston, the city shouldn’t get used to this type of red carpet roll out, Raposa said.
It’s hard to imagine this much sustained celebrity concentration in Boston happening again anytime soon.
“Unless [Prince William] becomes king and comes back,” she said.