The visiting royals enjoyed something of a Boston tea party with Mayor Michelle Wu and Gov.-Elect Maura Healey in City Hall before a brief and soggy address about the climate to a crowd outside.
Prince William thanked “all the hearty Bostonians” who spent the Wednesday afternoon getting rained on as they waited for him to speak for a total of about 2 minutes and 20 seconds — and his wife Princess Kate to remain silent in the background.
William, who’s next in line for the British monarchy and the eldest grandson of the late Queen Elizabeth II, is in town to present his “Earthshot” prize for climate innovations — inspired by former President John F. Kennedy’s “Moonshot” initiative — on Friday.
“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 this space race,” William told the umbrella-wielding crowd as the rain continued to fall heavily. “And where better to hold this year’s award ceremony than in President Kennedy’s hometown, in partnership with his daughter and the foundation that continues his legacy.”
William, Kate, Wu and Healey all spoke in the newly christened “Speakers Corner” of the recently reopened City Hall Plaza a few hundred feet from where the Boston Massacre happened in the leadup to the Revolutionary War. The Union Jack British flag flapped in the swirling winds on the third flagpole outside of City Hall next to the U.S. and city banners.
William and Kate landed in this former British colony on Wednesday afternoon, and they were slated to see the sights and hit up a Boston Celtics game, continuing with the green theme of the brief presser, before going to the JFK Library and then holding the award ceremony in the Fenway area on Friday. No word on whether the old English monarchy is going to hit up the New England Patriots game in town Thursday night.
Wu, speaking at the press conference, thanked them for coming, noting that they bring “our generation’s determination, ingenuity and resilience” — she’s 37 and the royals are 40 — to the climate-change fight.
“Boston is committed to being the greenest city in the country,” Wu said. “And we are infusing climate progress into everything we do.”
And Healey, the current state attorney general who takes the new office in January, said, “This is our chance to create great paying jobs, protect our communities and address environmental injustice that have persisted for far too long.”
The event itself only ran a bit over half an hour, plus a several-minute performance from Boston Children’s Chorus. The longest portion of which was the Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, the city’s environmental chief, vamping for better than 15 minutes about her personal activism as the royals, Wu and Healey schmoozed inside out of the elements.
Per the pool report, Healey, Wu, City Councilor President Ed Flynn and the royals had tea and cake in the Eagle Room in the mayor’s offices, joined by Wu’s two kids and husband.
Wu talked about environmental issues, and Flynn said he talked about veterans’ issues.
This is the first time since 1976 that British royals have been in City Hall; then, William’s mother joined Mayor Kevin White for the U.S.’s bicentennial anniversary of the country declaring independence from England.
Even though the speaking program was wet and brief, many of the observers nonetheless went home satisfied.
Angela Potier told the Herald she showed up at noon because she’s so fascinated by the British monarchy in general.
“I’m just interested in the head of state being different from government,” the Bostonian said. ” I’m a huge royal fan.”
She’d befriended other interested young people, swapping pics with Boston University student Daniel Juweid.
Juweid, a Jordanian native, said he just wanted to catch the spectacle of it all.
“Just who they are,” he said.
And Candice Lem-Trzeinka, who works nearby, said she had been excited to hear their environmental vision.
“I love the way he likened it to the Moonshot,” she said.