Friday was the day, it might be said, that Boston truly became the hub of the universe.
The Prince and Princess of Wales continued their whirlwind tour of Beantown, while President Biden flew up from Washington, in part to meet with Prince William at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester, a landmark that recalls America’s own royal family.
Meanwhile, other celebrities were making their way to town for the main event — the second annual Earthshot Prize ceremony, hosted by the royal couple. The star-studded event drew celebrities such as soccer star David Beckham, Oscar winner Rami Malek, and “Schitt’s Creek” star Catherine O’Hara to the MGM Music Hall at Fenway, where the international awards ceremony took place.
Pop star Billie Eilish beamed in remotely to perform, but other acts — like Chloe x Halle — graced the stage in person.
But first, Prince William toured the JFK Library in Dorchester, a notable stop on his itinerary, given that he and the princess modeled their Earthshot Prize on President Kennedy’s famous call for a “moonshot” to put a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s.
That speech and the work it inspired figured centrally in the prince’s visit, with JFK’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, now ambassador to Australia, acting as his guide. Along with her children, Tatiana Schlossberg and Jack Kennedy Schlossberg, Kennedy and the prince perused a room of historic items related to the space program and the Moonshot initiative.
“Thank you, Ambassador Kennedy for that warm welcome and for hosting us here in this iconic building,” William told the ambassador, according to a spokesperson. “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.”
The group spent a few moments looking at a copy of JFK’s Moonshot speech, which he gave at Rice University in 1962. The speech was marked with the president’s handwritten notes, which Caroline pointed out to Prince William.
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. “Oh yeah, 1961,” he said.
The prince enjoyed a private lunch, and then later, around 3 p.m., met with Biden. The two greeted one another warmly, according to a pool report.
“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. Biden, who was in town for a fund-raiser, did not attend the awards event Friday night.
“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 long-term 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.
For a town where the height of November fashion can mean flip-flops and shorts, Friday afternoon on the Earthshot event’s “green carpet” boosted the style factor considerably, even if attendees were encouraged to wear sustainable ensembles. (Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, for instance, wore a custom-made repurposed dress by designer Timothy Westbook that involved fabric woven with audio cassette tape and a sash created from fallen umbrellas.)
Ellie Goulding, the English singer who performed at William and Kate’s wedding in 2011, arrived in a white gown, while Chloe and Halle Bailey, the R&B duo known as Chloe x Halle wore full ball gowns in navy and chartreuse. Beckham, the world-famous soccer star, arrived with a police escort, gave the crowd a wave, and was quickly whisked inside.
Of course, this being Boston, we can’t escape our usual suspects. The first round of guests Friday included former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, who wore a delicate silver gown with matching trousers beneath and sparkling chandelier earrings. The US Senator from Utah was decked in black tie with just a hint of stylish stubble.
Close on their heels was special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry, who, as a longtime resident of Beacon Hill, may have had the smallest carbon footprint of any of the Earthshot’s high-profile guests.
Travis Andersen and Sabrina Shankman of the Globe staff and correspondent Daniel Kool contributed to this report.
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