Prince William set for ‘heroes welcome’ in New York as he plans to ignore Harry

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Prince William is set for the sort of welcome usually reserved for homecoming heroes when he lands in New York on Monday on his first solo mission to the U.S. as a world statesman.

As well as promoting his annual Earthshot innovation awards, the Prince of Wales will meet privately with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and other global leaders during his 48-hour whistle-stop visit.

He will also be joined by Oscar-winning Hollywood star Cate Blanchett, an avid Earthshot supporter, and will wade into the Hudson River to highlight a pioneering new water project during New York Climate Week.

William’s lone visit to the Big Apple comes after a Gallup poll ranked him most popular among 25 public figures in the news – well ahead of President Biden and former President Trump and even in front of Ukraine’s widely-admired President Zelensky, who came second.

Another recent poll, by YouGov, still ranks his wife Princess Kate as far and away most popular British royal in America, with William and his brother Prince Harry neck-and-neck behind her and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, trailing way behind.

READ MORE: Prince William’s reply to fan when asked him about Prince Harry’s birthday

Daisy Prince, founder and editor of the New York based Digital Party newsletter, believes William’s popularity across the Pond is continuing to grow and says: “The eco stuff is huge with young Americans. They really care about it, so the fact he’s spearheading that is great.”

She expects him to get a “tremendously warm” reception the moment he touches down and adds: “I think there’s respect for somebody who’s not always speaking out and is getting on with the job, and solidarity with William for putting one foot in front of the other.

“But I hope he does something cool and fun. Can we encourage him to go to a Yankees game and eat a hot dog, connect with normal New Yorkers and experience the less stuffy parts of the city? If he wants to win New York, he needs to play with us a little bit.”

The Prince of Wales is, in fact, expected to make a splash for photographers when he braves the Hudson River as well as a planned meeting with New York firefighters, with whom he will discuss mental health issues.

And he will take centre stage at a photo-call with double Oscar winner Ms. Blanchett during the Earthshot Prize Invitation Summit, where he will announce this year’s 15 finalists, five of whom will receive grants of a million pounds ($1.2m) each to develop their environmental work at a ceremony in Singapore in November which both he and Princess Kate will attend.

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As well as his planned meeting with UN Secretary-General Guterres and delegates from Ecuador and Vanuatu, William is scheduled to meet billionaire Mike Bloomberg, New York’s former mayor, who has already committed more than $20 million to support previous Earthshot projects.

While every major US TV network has requested an interview, Kensington Palace has turned them all down and senior aides have made it clear he also has no intention of speaking about his bitter rift with Prince Harry – or any other distraction – during his first official solo US visit.

One has been quoted as saying: “The US is very important to him. The world’s climate movers and shakers will be in New York having conversations about the future of the planet and the prince is keen to be part of those conversations and put Earthshot front and centre. He has huge ambitions for what the prize can become and is extremely focused on its legacy and impact.

“This trip is also part of his evolution as a global statesman, which is incredibly important, especially since becoming Prince of Wales. He and his courtiers have been thinking about how to manage that transition from Duke of Cambridge to the next king.

“You’ve seen a number of iterations of that, whether meeting with Joe Biden in Boston or travelling to the border with Ukraine and talking about the importance of fighting for our freedoms.”

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