Prince William flies solo to New York for first time in a decade as he preps to announce Earthshot Prize winners

19 September 2023, 02:24

The Prince of Wales flew out to New York ahead of the Earthshot Prize awards.
The Prince of Wales flew out to New York ahead of the Earthshot Prize awards. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Prince William flew out to New York for the first time in a decade as he prepares to announce the finalists of the 2023 Earthshot Prize amid the UN's Climate Week event.

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The Prince of Wales made the journey to New York solo on Sunday night for his two-day trip to the US.

Arriving at Newark airport on Sunday evening, the prince said it was “so good to be back” and that “no-one does optimism and ingenuity like the American people.”

He travelled straight from the airport to Governor’s Island in the New York Harbour.

It comes as he is expected to announce the 15 finalists for this year’s Earthshot Prize on Tuesday, which awards companies and projects researching innovative climate solutions.

William originally helped found the awards in 2020 which every year sees five winners receive £1m towards their project.

He said he wanted to turn “current pessimism surrounding environmental issues into optimism by celebrating the people and places driving change”.

Arriving in the US, the prince said: “It’s so good to be back in the United States. No one does optimism and ingenuity like the American people, so it’s only right we unveil this year’s Earthshot finalists in New York City.

“80 years ago, the world came together in this great city to find a new way, through the UN, to solve our shared challenges."

Prince William met with UN Secretary General António Guterres on Monday.
Prince William met with UN Secretary General António Guterres on Monday. Picture: Alamy
William's trip comes ahead of the Earthshot Prize awards on Tuesday.
William's trip comes ahead of the Earthshot Prize awards on Tuesday. Picture: Alamy

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He continued: “I know our generation can take the bold action we need to make changes towards a healthy and sustainable world. The challenge may feel huge, but as John F Kennedy taught us, we rise to the challenge not because it is easy, but because it is hard. And vital.”

William, who flew commercial, travelled solo for the event as the Princess of Wales stayed at home with the children.

As part of the UN General Assembly’s Climate Week event, the prince met with UN Secretary General António Guterres on Monday.

A trip to the Billion Oyster Project was also on the agenda for the first day of his whistle-stop tour, which is an initiative that aims to restore oyster reefs to New York Harbour.

Despite the prince’s trip to the US, where his brother Harry lives in California, reports suggest he has no plans to visit the Duke of Sussex.

William also made a visit to the Billion Oyster Project on Monday.
William also made a visit to the Billion Oyster Project on Monday. Picture: Alamy

The Prince of Wales was originally meant to fly out to New York in 2022 for the awards but this was postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth.

“The prince was incredibly appreciative for the love and support shown by the American people during that time,” a Kensington Palace spokesman said ahead of William’s arrival in the US.

“He is very much looking forward to being back in New York this week and hopefully meeting as many New Yorkers as possible.”

The prince's arrival in New York comes after Kate was seen bursting into laughter as she inflated her life vest during a visit to a Royal Navy airfield on Monday.

Upon arrival at the naval base, the princess was pictured shaking hands with workers in the tower, where staff work hard to ensure the safe operation of RNAS Yeovilton.

While there, she had the chance to communicate with the crew members onboard an airborne Wildcat flight.

She was then shown around the hangar where she met personnel to discuss the different operations that take place within the Fleet Air Arm.

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