The Prince of Wales is looking to make the Earthshot Prize a “Super Bowl moment” as he employs a star-studded cast to promote his environmental scheme.
As the Prince of Wales prepares to travel to Boston for the second annual Earthshot Prize, royal aides described it as one of the most important royal visits abroad for many years.
The Prince wants the £50 million, 10-year environmental initiative to define his tenure as heir to the throne.
It is considered a critical element of his “increasing global leadership on the environment”, a source said, pointing to his climate-focused involvement in the G7, COP26 and the Jubilee.
It also happens to be the first major royal trip to the US since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex settled there almost two years ago: a chance to recapture the narrative and showcase their work on an international stage.
On Wednesday, the Prince and Princess of Wales will light up Boston City Hall green as they are formally welcomed back to the country, their first official visit since 2014.
They will carry out three days of engagements focused on sport, green tech, vulnerable young people, climate change and the early years before the green carpet is rolled out for a glittering award ceremony at MGM Music Hall on Friday evening.
Billie Eilish, Annie Lennox, Ellie Goulding and Beyoncé protégées Chloe x Halle are among the artists headlining the show, all of whom are said to be “true activists at their core”.
Sir David Attenborough will voice the opening and the Princess will present one of the awards.
Oscar-winning actress and Earthshot judging panel member Cate Blanchett will narrate a lookback at the 2021 winners.
The brief US trip has been designed to allow the Prince and Princess to “get to know the city of Boston”.
They will start the countdown to the award ceremony on Wednesday, when they join Michelle Wu, mayor of Boston, and Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John F Kennedy, at Speaker’s Corner, where they will turn various local landmarks green.
The following day, they will visit Greentown Labs, the largest climate technology start-up campus in North America, to hear about the latest green technologies.
They will also visit Roca, a non-profit organisation that supports high-risk young people aged between 16 and 24.
On Friday, as part of her work focusing on the early years, the Princess will visit The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. Meanwhile, the Prince will tour the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
This year’s Earthshot finalists include two from the UK: a seaweed-based alternative to plastic; and a carbon-negative alternative to traditional aggregate made from unrecyclable plastic waste.
A royal source said: “The prize has become the Prince’s Super Bowl moment of the year, and he looks forward to continuing to use the platform each year to shine a light on some of the most impactful projects doing amazing things around the world to save our planet’s future.”
They added: “Inclusivity is a key part of the Earthshot’s mission. This year’s nominees are drawn from all corners of the planet, truly showcasing the best of human ingenuity. From indigenous leadership in Australia to female-led solutions in Kenya, diverse stories and solutions are at the heart of the prize.
“Inclusivity will be a key part of the wider trip too – during our time in Boston, the Prince and Princess will meet Boston-based indigenous leaders.”
The show – to be broadcast on Sunday evening – will be co-hosted by the BBC’s Clara Amfo and Korean-American actor Daniel Dae Kim.
Lennox said: “The objective of the Earthshot Prize is powerful in terms of building a waste-free world and reviving our oceans. I’m therefore honoured to lend my voice in support of this ambitious mission.”
A visionary and motivating leader
Hannah Jones, Earthshot CEO, said the Prince had proved to be a visionary and motivating leader.
“He’s wonderfully, unreasonably ambitious, as it should be,” she told The Telegraph.
“It’s like, well, why can’t we do it like that? And why can’t we go 10 times faster? We do not have time, we have to go bigger, we have to make more of an impact.
“It’s an absolute joy to work for someone like that because he really is passionate.”
A £1 million Earthshot Prize will be awarded to five environmental projects each year for 10 years, creating a network of innovators working together to scale up their initiatives across the globe.
Ms Jones acknowledged that the money offered no guarantee that the winning projects would take off.
“We really think of ourselves running it like a portfolio,” she said.
“Some of them will go on to become a unicorn (a startup valued at $1 billion) as it were, in terms of the environment, and do something. Some of them will not. We’re very clear that that’s what we’re doing.”
Many of the finalists are already working together.
The republic of Costa Rica was named one of the inaugural winners for an initiative paying local citizens to restore natural ecosystems.
It used its prize money to seed-fund work on its marine coastline, 30 per cent of which is now protected, and has brought in another finalist, Pristine Seas, to help.
“So you’re starting to build this network of alumni, but also of supporters who are all looking out for each other,” Ms Jones added. “It’s really lovely.”