Prince William – DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP
The Prince and Princess of Wales “won’t be distracted” by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when they travel to the US next week, royal sources have insisted.
The couple will carry out three days of engagements in Boston, culminating in a star-studded Earthshot Prize ceremony they hope will push the awards into the global spotlight.
It is their first official visit to the US since the Sussexes decamped across the pond and immediately made their presence known with the now infamous – and damaging – Oprah Winfrey interview.
It also happens to come just ahead of a major publicity blitz from Harry and Meghan, whose Netflix documentary series is released within a fortnight, followed closely by the Duke’s “intimate and heartfelt” memoir, Spare, published on January 10.
For the Prince and Princess, the Boston trip is a big moment, their first overseas visit since taking on their new roles and a critical opportunity to whip up more of an international buzz around the Earthshot Prize.
Both royal and government sources privately acknowledge that it also offers the chance to reposition the Royal family in American hearts and minds, casting them in their own light rather than the racist, neglectful version peddled by the Sussexes.
However, a foreign office source insisted that the visit had not been planned with the Montecito-based couple in mind.
The Prince and Princess of Wales attend the first Earthshot Prize awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace in London – Dominic Lipinski/PA
“The Palace team are highly cognizant of Meghan and Harry, but equally, they’re not scared of their shadows on this,” they said.
“William is the future King. Harry has taken his path, she’s doing her podcast, they’ve got their issues, but the palace isn’t going to run scared of that, so kudos to them.”
The inaugural Earthshot Prize was held in London last year and while it was hailed a great success, it did not generate significant attention abroad.
“America is your best chance of projecting it internationally,” the source said. “That was the logic behind wanting to do it in Boston.”
The ceremony, which takes place on Friday evening, will be broadcast across the US on public broadcaster PBS next Sunday. It will also be shown on Multichoice in Africa and on the BBC.
‘Our goal is to become a global brand’
Hannah Jones, the chief executive of the Earthshot Prize, told The Telegraph: “Our goal is to become a global brand and we are one year into it.
“It’s very early days and it’s quite incredible the amount of momentum we have already got. We’re just building up. Think of it like a flywheel. You know, Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
The choice of Boston as host also fits neatly with the very premise of the event.
Inspired by the concept of moonshots, it is hoped that the prize will stimulate environmental breakthroughs just as John F. Kennedy’s mission to put a man on the moon has become shorthand for ambitious and ground-breaking goals.
The Massachusetts city is home to the Kennedys and offered the Prince and his Earthshot team the perfect chance to work alongside America’s first family, partnering with the JFK Library Foundation.
Even that is not without its issues, however.
By chance, just days after the Prince and Princess join forces with President Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, and grandson, Jack Schlossberg, in Boston, an opposing branch of the political dynasty will be lauding the Sussexes with a prestigious humanitarian award.
The Sussex’s Netflix documentary is being released in a fortnight – Karwai Tang/WireImage
Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of President Kennedy’s late brother Robert F. Kennedy, will present Harry and Meghan with the Ripple of Hope award at an opulent gala ceremony in New York for which tickets cost up to $1 million.
She recently praised the couple for having the courage to challenge the Royal family’s “power structure” and said they had been “heroic” by standing up against the monarchy.
“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.
In the battle for hearts and minds, it seems the Waleses may only have a small window.
On Tuesday evening, Meghan will speak at an event in Indianapolis, for which guests have paid $5,000 for a table for ten.
The Power of Women: An Evening with Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, will involve an interview conducted by Rabbi Sandy Sasso, the first female Reconstructionist rabbi. Members of the media are banned and those buying tickets must confirm that none of their guests work in the field.
‘We won’t be distracted by other things’
On the following Tuesday, December 6, the Sussexes will receive their humanitarian award from Kerry Kennedy.
Two days later, their Netflix documentary, which the Duchess says will tell their “love story”, is released.
The series will be presented as a “true documentary” about their lives and is not expected to pull any punches when it comes to the reasons behind their decision to step away from the institution.
The Earthshot Prize will award £50 million in prizes over ten years as it seeks to find solutions to repair and protect the planet.
It has been likened to a green Nobel prize and for the Prince, is a career-defining project.
He will not let any noise from the Sussex camp drown it out, as one well-placed source made clear.
“Our number focus next week is the Earthshot Prize and we won’t be distracted by other things,” they said.