On their first full day in Boston, Prince William and Kate Middleton toured a green technology startup incubator and visited a nonprofit that helps underserved youth break the cycle of poverty and violence.
The couple arrived in the city Wednesday afternoon for their first overseas trip abroad since Queen Elizabeth II’s death in September and their first to the U.S. in eight years.
Their three-day visit will culminate in William’s Earthshot Prize awards ceremony Friday, where grants will be awarded to environmental activists.
The royal couple started the day at Greentown Labs in Somerville, Massachusetts, the largest climate technology startup incubator in North America, which has supported more than 500 companies.
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Kate Middleton and Prince William greeted fans during their visit to a youth nonprofit in Chelsea, Mass., Thursday. (Samir Hussein/Pool/WireImage)
Hundreds of curious onlookers cheered as the couple stepped out of their car.
William was wearing a gray suit and a burgundy sweater and Kate complimented him in a burgundy suit and a pink Burberry blouse.
"We love you, William!" people could be heard shouting to the prince before they went inside, according to a pool report.
While at Greentown Labs, they learned about several startups, including c16 Biosciences, a company working on sustainable alternatives to palm oil; Open Ocean Robotics, which makes solar-powered autonomous boats, and Nth Cycle, which is trying to decarbonize the critical mineral supply chain.
They also met with several past Earthshot Prize winners ahead of announcing this year's winners.
Prince William and Kate Middleton spent at least 10 minutes talking to fans outside a nonprofit in Chelsea, Mass., Thursday. (Samir Hussein/Pool/WireImage)
Following their tour of the incubator, William and Kate visited Roca, Inc., a nonprofit near Boston that helps men and women, ages 16-24, dealing with issues like incarceration, poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, pregnancy and racism.
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Will and Kate again were greeted by cheers from a crowd gathered outside of the nonprofit in Chelsea, Massachusetts, according to the pool report.
While there, William spoke with Jonathan Williams, a man who had been helped by the program.
"Well I hope you give yourself a pat on the back as well, you got yourself here," the Prince of Wales told Williams. "These guys have provided you with the support and the outside bit, but you’ve done it yourself."
They also spoke to several children working on art projects at the center for young mothers, with William, a father of three, holding up a little girl who was trying to find her mom on the other side of a window. "Where is she? Is she over there?" the prince asked the girl.
Prince William and Kate Middleton braved the cold temperatures at Boston Harbor with Mayor Michelle Wu and Reverend Mariama White-Hammond Thursday. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
As they were leaving, Kate, whose youngest is four, made a beeline for two women holding babies and spoke with them for a long time, according to the pool report.
The cheering crowds waiting outside held signs that said, "Welcome to Chelsea," "Welcome to Boston, Your Highnesses," and "Welcome to Chelsea, The Future King and Queen of England."
Kate became so engaged speaking with fans who took selfies with the couple and gave them flowers that she apparently didn’t notice that her husband had left for the car.
"Oh, is he gone?" she asked an aide who came to get her.
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The royals’ trip comes amid some controversy surrounding an honorary member of the Buckingham Palace household. Lady Susan Hussey, William's godmother, was reportedly forced to step down from her position after she was accused of repeatedly asking a Black woman born in Britain where she was "really" from.
Their U.S. visit also highlights the rift with William’s brother Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who moved to California in 2020. William and Kate reportedly have no plans to see Harry and Meghan while they’re in the U.S.
Lady Susan Hussey, lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II, accompanies the queen to Sunday service at St Peter's Church near Sandringham House Jan. 19, 2014, in Norwich, England. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
The Prince and Princess of Wales also learned about climate challenges at Boston Harbor, where they met with Boston Mayor Michelle Wu; Kathy Abbott, CEO of Boston Harbor Now; and others. Abbott said she offered the barehanded prince her hand warmer in the frigid waterfront temperatures, but he politely declined.
"There's a huge amount of respect for them," Abbott later told reporters. "Everybody I've talked to is incredibly excited that they're here. Hopefully (Earthshot) is going to leave us with a whole lot of inspiration. There's a huge amount of respect and appreciation."
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As they left, the couple spoke to park workers near the harbor who asked if they enjoyed watching the Celtics' basketball game on their first night in the city on Wednesday. William joked that Kate had asked him if he wanted to shoot some hoops at the park.
"Ten feet up? It’s a long time since I’ve done that," he laughed. "We might come back when it’s a bit warmer. It’s beautiful along the waterfront."
The couple received mixed reactions at the game, with some audible boos when they were shown on the Jumbotron.
Another crowd of fans had gathered at the park gates despite the cold with some shouting, "We love you!" and one inquiring, "William, do you have any single friends?"
The Associated Press contributed to this report.