Catherine, the Princess of Wales, turned heads when she stepped into the spotlight to co-host the South African President for a state visit just days ago.
Now, the future Queen of England is stepping out again.
On Wednesday (Australian time), she travels to the US with husband Prince William for a trip billed as one of the most important for the British royal family in years.
The couple are going to Boston for the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit awards, a glitzy, star-studded ceremony at the MGM Music Hall on Friday that royal staffers are calling Prince William’s ‘Super Bowl moment’.
While the event is the ultimate reason for their visit, they also view their trip as an opportunity to “fact find” about causes and interests close to their hearts.
On Friday, Kate will make a solo visit to Harvard University’s Centre on the Developing Child, while Prince William will tour the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
President Kennedy’s Moonshot — which challenged America to put a man on the moon — is the key inspiration behind the Earthshot Prize.
Catherine and William will reportedly round out their US jaunt with a “quick trip” to New York for some Christmas shopping.
It will be the first time the Prince and Princess of Wales have been in the US since 2014, and their first visit following their escalation up the royal hierarchy since the death of Queen Elizabeth in September.
There will also be plenty of chatter about whether they will cross paths with William’s brother Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle – and whether that bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview by the California-based Sussexes accusing the royals of racism will again prove a distraction.
“Harry and Meghan trashed the monarchy. Can William and Kate win back American hearts?” Times royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah said on the eve of their trip.
The Princess of Wales donned some of the finest Crown jewels last week – the ‘Lover’s Knot’ tiara and other heirlooms from the late Queen, and teamed them with a white-caped Jenny Packham gown for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.
Royal watchers were impressed by the Princess’ glamour and its inevitable message. The tiara was a favourite of her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, and the late Queen’s jewellery is iconic.
Kate was variously described as “beautifully regal”, “dazzled in diamonds and pearls”, and “gosh … perfect”.
At the first state banquet of the new King’s reign, she was seated next to the guest of honour, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Her prominence left no one in any doubt that she is stepping up to new heights.
At times, the King and the Prince of Wales appeared almost to play second fiddle – at least one keen-eyed Twitter fan noted that gazes and smiles in the Buckingham Palace room focused on the woman who will one day be queen.
“She really could be a fairytale princess,” royal expert and Queen Consort biographer Angela Levin wrote.
Will Boston roll out the red carpet?
Now the Waleses are off to Boston for the second Earthshot Prize Awards, to be handed out in partnership with the JFK Library Foundation.
Founded by Prince William and The Royal Foundation in 2020, Earthshot honours people and organisations that are helping to repair and regenerate the planet. Each winner receives £1 million ($1.8 million) to help keep fighting for their cause.
By late last week, flags and billboards had bedecked streets around Boston’s MGM Music Hall. The royals will be the guests of honour at Friday’s ceremony.
After Boston, Us Weekly reports the couple – who will travel without their three children – will take a “quick trip to New York, where they can enjoy the festivities in the build-up to Christmas”.
Kate is “dying to go ice-skating at the Rockefeller [Centre] and shopping for fun souvenirs for George, Charlotte and Louis”, Us Weekly wrote in October.
The Times‘ Nikkhah said Kate and William’s US visit was “one of the most important [royal] overseas trips for years”, and aimed to “get the House of Windsor firmly back on the front foot across the pond”.
Four days after Kate and William return home, William’s California-based younger brother Harry and his wife, Archetypes podcaster and actress Meghan Markle, will also jet into the US east coast.
They will be in New York City for their own public relations moment – in a visit that British media has been quick to note misses the Wales’ by a handful of days.
Harry and Meghan are this year’s Robert F Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award laureates, in recognition of their work on racial justice, mental health, and other social impact initiatives through their Archewell Foundation.
President Kennedy’s niece, and Robert Kennedy’s daughter, Kerry Kennedy is the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights president. She said the Sussexes were chosen because of their “heroic stand” against structural racism within the monarchy.
In a Q&A with Spanish news site El Confidencial‘s Vanitatis magazine, Ms Kennedy said Harry and Meghan had questioned the power structure within their own family.
“They went to the oldest institution in UK history and told them what they were doing wrong, that they couldn’t have structural racism within the institution; that they could not maintain a misunderstanding about mental health,” she said.
“They knew that if they did this there would be consequences, that they would be ostracised, they would lose their family, their position within this structure, and that people would blame them for it.”
After Meghan’s bombshell 2021 claims of racism in the British royal family, Prince William was pursued for his opinion.
“We are very much not a racist family,” he said after a question from Sky News.
Harry and Meghan will be honoured at a cocktail gala night on December 6.
It will be followed on December 8 by the debut of their controversial multimillion-dollar Netflix series, and then the publication of Harry’s tell-all memoir, Spare, on January 10.