The Prince and Princess of Wales were met with cheers of ‘USA! USA!’ as they were introduced at the TD Garden during a Celtics basketball game in Boston on Wednesday.
The cheers were joined by an unmistakable smattering of boos as Prince William and Kate Middleton appeared on the jumbotron, but the derision was drowned out by the otherwise good-natured welcome.
William and Kate sat court-side alongside Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck and his wife Emilia Fazzalari. They were also joined by Maura Healy, the Governor-elect of Massachusetts, and Celtics Legend Thomas ‘Satch’ Sanders.
William cast an awkward glance at the big screen while the couple’s faces were shown to the crowd on the big screen – as more ‘USA!’ chants echoed – before both royals grinned and waved.
After the first quarter, William met Ollie Perrault, a fifteen-year-old climate activist from Easthampton, Massachusetts. Ollie was given the ‘Hero Among Us’ award, a prize given during each Celtics game. She was then introduced to William and Kate, who shook hands with Ollie and chatted briefly with her.
The royal couple’s first trip to the US in eight years has been shrouded in controversy over the Buckingham Palace race row – but the couple refused to the let the scandal stop them from enjoying one of the nation’s favorite pastimes.
Just an hour before they arrived at the game, William and Kate spoke an event for the Earthshot Prize, during which Reverend Mariama White-Hammond – the city’s Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space – gave a strong speech in which she told the crowd to ‘consider the legacy of colonialism and racism’, particularly when it comes to their impact on climate change.
The Prince of Wales looked to be having a fun-filled evening as he cheered on the Boston Celtics, with his wife flashing him a smile at one point during the game
The couple had the best seats in the house for the game, which sees the Boston Celtics going up against the Miami Heat
William and Kate appear on the jumbotron at TD Garden and wave to the crowd
William and Kate talk as they walk down the side of the court at the Celtics game Wednesday
Prince William in particular looked to be having a whale of a time, clapping and cheering on the team as his wife flashed him a wide smile.
However, while the pair appeared to be enjoying the evening’s match-up between Boston and Miami, their attendance at the event will also include several key tributes to the Earthshot Prize and its arrival in the US city.
In addition to the Hero Among Us award, the Celtics will go green for Earthshot, with branding for the climate change initiative appearing throughout the game.
Their Royal Highnesses will also meet members of the Celtics family, including representatives of the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, which provides grassroots programming and strategic funding to local organizations serving at risk or at need populations.
They will hear about the ‘Curbside Care’ mobile unit, which through a partnership with Boston Medical Center will provide comprehensive, streamlined care to mothers and infants in the first six weeks of life right at patient doorsteps.
William and Kate applaud while watching the Celtics game on Wednesday night
William and Kate watch the jumbotron during the Boston Celtics game at the TD Garden on Wednesday
Prince William in particular looked to be having a whale of a time, clapping and cheering on the team as his wife flashed him a wide smile
Prince William and Kate Middleton were seen grinning and cheering as they sat courtside at a Boston Celtics game on Wednesday night, just one hour after their Earthshot Prize launch was dragged into the royal race row
No doubt William and Kate will be hoping the evening’s event – the second in their official list of engagements during their whirlwind three-day trip to Boston – will go off without a hitch, given the awkward moment that took place during the Earthshot launch just hours before the game.
As the Prince and Princess Wales watched on from the wings, Reverend Hammond, who founded a youth organization focused on ‘teaching the history of the Civil Rights Movement’, said: ‘On this day, I invite us all to consider the legacy of colonialism and racism.’
She continued: ‘The ways it has impacted people across the world and its connection, its deep connection to the degradation of land and our planet that we are all seeking to reverse. The stories lost, the species made extinct, but also the persistence of people in the face of oppression and the fundamental dignity of all of our relations.’
Although no mention was made about Lady Susan Hussey – former lady-in-waiting to the Queen and William’s own godmother – who was accused of making racist comments to black domestic abuse campaigner Ngozi Fulani at a Buckingham Palace event on Tuesday night, few could fail to connect the controversy with Reverend White-Hammond’s remarks.
Prince William and Kate Middleton meet 13-year-old Ollie Perrault after she received her award at the Celtics game Wednesday
William and Kate smiling court-side as Celtics team members horse around in front of them
Having started her speech by ‘acknowledging the ancestral lands we stand on today’, the Reverend went on to express gratitude to William and Kate for choosing to host this year’s Earthshot Prize in Boston.
‘Now you all know, we are a city of many firsts. We are honored to be the first American city and the first city outside of the United Kingdom to host the Earthshot Prize,’ she continued.
Her comments about colonialism came just months after another of William and Kate’s international engagements – a March tour to the Caribbean to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – was shrouded in controversy over accusations that elements of it smacked of ‘colonialism’.