After the then-Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s complex and controversial Caribbean tour earlier this year—which took them to Belize, Jamaica, and the Bahamas—the stakes are high for the new Prince and Princess of Wales as they visit Boston, their first trip overseas since beginning those new roles, and the first since the death of Her late Majesty the Queen.
And, despite a jam-packed Boston schedule focused on environmentalism, climate change, and saving the planet, other news has taken center stage. While on the plane from London to Boston—a commercial flight, in keeping with the environmentally-friendly mission of the Earthshot Prize—news broke of the resignation of William’s godmother, Susan Hussey, amid disturbing allegations of racism made against her by domestic abuse activist Ngozi Fulani, who attended a Buckingham Palace reception hosted by Queen Consort Camilla on Tuesday aimed at combatting violence against women. Fulani—attending the event on behalf of Sistah Space—was repeatedly asked racially charged questions by “Lady SH,” who inquired about her heritage and background despite Fulani telling her she was born in Britain. (Fulani took to Twitter to say that “Lady SH” asked her questions like “What nationality are you?” “Where do you really come from?” “Where do your people come from?” and “What part of Africa are you from?”)
In a statement, the Palace said the member of the royal household had resigned and apologized after “unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments” were made. A spokesman for the Prince and Princess of Wales said, “I was really disappointed to hear about the guest’s experience. Racism has no place in our society. These comments were unacceptable and it’s right that the individual has stepped aside with immediate effect.”
The spokesman added that William was made aware of the situation and supports the actions taken.
Wednesday’s visit continued on as planned, with a welcome at Boston’s City Hall and William and Catherine attending a basketball game between the hometown Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat later that evening.
Thursday’s itinerary for the Boston visit included three stops across Boston—first at Greentown Labs in Somerville, where they learned how the organization is helping combat the climate crisis. Then it was off to Roca in nearby Chelsea, a nonprofit focused on high-risk youth before an afternoon visit to Boston Harbor, where they learned how climate change is affecting Boston and its shoreline. But—whether intentionally or not—the attention-grabbing headline of the day was the release of the trailer for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Netflix docuseries (simply titled Harry & Meghan), which, in one minute and 12 seconds, took the lion’s share of attention away from an entire day’s worth of engagements on the Prince and Princess of Wales’ part.
“To drop it as they have on the first or second day of the Prince and Princess of Wales’s trip to the U.S. for the Earthshot Prize shows just exactly how much they wanted to hijack that publicity,” royal expert Jonathan Sacerdoti told Us Weekly. “It just shows how much they will go to any end at all for as much publicity as possible. They will jump on his own brother’s trip to promote these environmental prizes in order to steal that limelight and get more attention.”
Friday's schedule includes Catherine visiting Harvard University and William visiting the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum before the main event, Friday evening’s Earthshot Prize Awards. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu told People that the Cambridges' work impressed and inspired her.
“They’re delightful and generous with their time,” she said. “They’re very, very interested in the many ways that we are all connected to this larger mission of helping to restore and repair the planet…I’m so impressed and inspired by their expertise and how they are using their platform to shine a light on the good things that others are doing.”
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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