The Prince and Princess of Wales are concluding their royal trip to Boston Friday with a packed itinerary that included meeting with President Biden in the afternoon and hosting the glitzy Earthshot Prize awards ceremony at night.
William and Kate’s three-day visit has been marked by chilly weather and swarms of crowds eager to greet them at every turn — from their welcome event at City Hall Plaza Wednesday, to a rowdy Celtics game at TD Garden, and the various stops where they learned about climate innovation and grassroots community outreach programs.
For the final stretch, the couple briefly parted ways to take on separate ventures Friday. While the princess visited the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, the prince stopped by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester for a tour, where he later met with Biden.
As part of her ongoing work to “elevate the importance of the early years to lifelong outcomes,” Kate visited the Harvard center around 11:15 a.m., where she had a discussion with researchers about the “advances in science that can be harnessed to achieve a promising future for every child,” according to a statement from Kensington Palace.
The center focuses on “leveraging advances in sciences” to both inform policies and increase the impact of programs, the statement said.
Meanwhile, William traveled to the JFK Library and Museum around noon, where he met first with Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy, and later, Biden.
Ambassador Kennedy arrived around 11:45 a.m. with her son and daughter, and greeted William before leading him into the museum around 12:10 p.m. for a luncheon.
“Thank you Ambassador Kennedy for that warm welcome and for hosting us here in this iconic building,” William said during the event, according to a spokesperson. “Caroline, just over a year ago, we committed to bring the Earthshot Prize to Boston, the birthplace of your father, and the man who inspired our mission. The 2022 winners announced later today are the next step on our collective journey. Their stories are inspiring, and their solutions are game changing.”
Before the private lunch, William, Kennedy, and her children, Tatiana Schlossberg and Jack Kennedy Schlossberg, took in some of the library’s remarkable exhibits, including a room of historic items related to the space program and JFK’s famous Moonshot initiative, according to a pool report.
The group spent a few moments looking at a copy of JFK’s Moonshot speech, which he gave at Rice University in 1961. The speech was marked with the president’s handwritten notes, which Caroline pointed out to William, the pooler reported.
The ambassador at one point pointed out a facsimile of a memo from President Kennedy to Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson hanging on the wall, and she also paused in front of a photo of Queen Elizabeth, saying “there’s the one from your grandmother.”
Prince William smiled as he looked at the black and white image of his late grandmother Queen Elizabeth in a silver frame and said, “Oh yeah, 1961,” the pool reported.
William later met with Biden at the library, and the two greeted one another with a warm handshake around 3 p.m.
“Where’s your top coat?” Biden quipped, as the prince made his way down a staircase to greet the president outside. “Good to see you again.”
“Good to see you too,” William said.
Their meeting lasted for about a half hour inside the library, according to a spokesperson for the royals.
“It was a warm, friendly and substantive discussion,” the spokesperson said, adding that Biden “was keen” to learn about the Earthshot Prize and some of the finalists, including the Great Bubble Barrier, a finalist in the Revive Our Oceans category.
William also shared his longterm ambition for the prize and thanked Biden for attending Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in September.
“They both shared warm memories of Her Majesty,” the spokesperson said.
Earlier Friday, crowds began forming outside the library around 10 a.m., with onlookers eager to catch a glimpse of the visiting British royal and the president.
Michael DiMaggio-Lisasa, a sophomore at Boston University, made the early trek carrying a yellow sign thanking the president. “Thank U Joe Biden, You saved me,” it read.
DiMaggio-Lisasa said Biden “not only helped my student loan forgiveness, but told the country we’re not powerless against extremism.”
He said he was excited to see the prince, but noted that it’s always an honor to meet the president and standing in the cold was “the least I could do.”
The royal couple will reunite to host the second annual Earthshot Prize event — an international environmental awards ceremony representing the heart of their visit — where they will award five winners $1.2 million each for their leadership combating the climate crisis. Biden will not attend the star-studded event, which takes place at MGM Music Hall at Fenway.
“It was that 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 told a crowd at City Hall earlier this week. “Boston was also the obvious choice because your universities, research centers, and vibrant startup scene make you a global leader in science, innovation, and boundless ambition.”
A deluge of celebrities and notable names have descended on Boston for the ceremony, placing the city in the somewhat rare international spotlight as a center of fame and power. Stars like Billie Eilish, Rami Malek, and David Beckham will be at the event celebrating environmental innovators in the battle against climate change.
Earthshot was first founded by William and the Royal Foundation in 2020, and is a prize to discover, accelerate, and scale pioneering ideas that can help the planet.
The couple will join “activists, innovators, policy makers, and performers” to celebrate the 15 finalists before the five prize winners are announced, according to Kensington Palace officials.
“It is the Prize’s ambition that every Bostonian knows the Winners of the Earthshot Prize 2022 will be announced in their city, and that those around the US, and indeed world, see Boston as a leading City which is embracing a more sustainable and green agenda,” William wrote in a letter to Mayor Michelle Wu last May, about hosting the event in Boston.
In an opinion piece featured in the Huffington Post Friday, William said the Boston trip is a mission-driven affair.
“We want to demonstrate what we can all do to help put the world on a path toward a stable climate, where communities, nature and oceans thrive in harmony,” the prince wrote.
Travis Andersen of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. This breaking story will be updated throughout the day.
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