Will Harry and Meghan follow William and Kate’s example and fly commercial? – Daily News


Prince William and Kate Middleton scored some PR points when they arrived on a commercial jet Wednesday for their three-day visit to Boston, temporarily distracting attention from a palace racism row back in the U.K. and presenting an eco-friendly contrast to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who have become known for their preference for traveling on private planes.

Of course, the Prince and Princess of Wales would immediately be labeled eco-hypocrites if they had flown into Boston on a private jet. After all, the main purpose for their visit to the United States, their first in eight years, is to present the Earthshot Prize.

The annual environmental award is handed out by the Royal Foundation, an organization William founded, to help entrepreneurs with solutions to climate change and environmental issues. William and Kate will be joined at the star-studded Earthshot Prize ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Friday evening by the late president’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy.

The Wales also scored PR points by being seen moving through the first-class cabin of their flight, chatting with other passengers and explaining why they were coming to Boston. One person on the plane said the couple were “utterly delightful.”

The image of the future king and queen of England, chatting with regular people, even if in first class, offered a respite to the PR “disaster” that threatens to overshadow their trip, which is seen as their effort to present a socially and environmentally enlightened image of the British royal family.

Lady Susan Hussey, William’s 83-year-old godmother and a longtime lady-in-waiting to the late Queen Elizabeth II, resigned from her job in King Charles III’s household for “unacceptable,” racist comments she made Tuesday to Ngozi Fulani, a Black, London-based domestic abuse activist at a reception at Buckingham Palace.

According to Fulani’s account of the exchange, Hussey repeatedly questioned her about where she was “really from,” even after Fulani told her she was born in the U.K. and is British. While William and Kate were still in-flight, a spokesperson for the couple issued a statement, saying “Racism has no place in our society. … It’s right that the individual has stepped aside with immediate effect.”

Despite this statement, there was an uncomfortable reminder of the monarchy’s history of racism and colonialism in a comment made by a speaker at Wednesday’s launch event for the Earthshot Prize, the Daily Mail reported. As the Prince and Princess Wales watched from the wings, Mariama White-Hammond, a Black minister who serves as Boston’s Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space, said, “On this day, I invite us all to consider the legacy of colonialism and racism,” as it relates to climate change.

However, White-Hammond followed up by expressing 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,” White-Hammond said.

As for William and Kate’s choice to travel to Boston on a commercial jet, it wouldn’t be surprising if the issue comes up when Harry and Meghan travel to their next major public engagement — which happens to be early next week for a gala awards ceremony of their own. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who now live in California, will be honored in New York City by another branch of the Kennedy family for taking a “heroic” stand against “structural racism” in the monarchy.

Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a nonprofit named in honor of her late father, said in an interview earlier this month that the Sussexes will receive the nonprofit’s annual Ripple of Hope award at a gala in New York because they had the courage to challenge the royal family’s “power structure.”

It’s not known when Harry and Meghan will fly to the East Coast, but it’s likely that the U.K. tabloids will be watching to see if they make their journey via a commercial airline or on a luxury private jet — as they have traveled in the past. Like the Wales, the Sussexes have styled themselves as dedicated environmentalists, with Harry promoting Travalyst, a program that encourages people to adopt sustainable, eco-friendly practices whenever they travel.

But Harry and Meghan have been called out over the years for traveling via private jets, which are known to spew high levels of greenhouse gases. Most recently, they flew back to California from the late queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June on a Bombardier Global 6000 — an “ultra-long-range” jet that can soar 6,000 miles without refueling, the New York Post said, citing a report in the Times UK.

The couple’s 5,500-mile trip from England to Santa Barbara is estimated to have emitted nearly 60 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to a chartered flight provider, the New York Post said. Under terms of the Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit global warming, a person’s annual carbon budget should be limited to 2.1 tons per year. That means Harry and Meghan surpassed that mark by nearly 15 times in a single flight, the Post also reported.

Harry and Meghan’s use of private jets first became news in 2019, when Meghan hopped a ride on a friend’s private jet to fly from the U.K. to New York City for her lavish baby shower with friends Serena Williams and Gayle King, and when the couple used Elton John’s private jet to travel to Spain and the South of France.

After being accused of being an eco-hypocrite in 2019, Harry acknowledged that his travel habits were “not perfect” but said he flew by commercial airline “99 percent” of the time.

“Occasionally there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure that my family are safe,” Harry said as a way to defend his “occasional” use of private jets, the Daily Beast reported at the time.

However, Harry’s argument about security concerns were undercut that summer when William, Kate and their three children were photographed traveling to Scotland via an $89 budget flight. Ken Wharfe, who guarded Princess Diana and her sons William and Harry in the 1990s, also told Vanity Fair that she and the children regularly flew commercial. 

“During my time at the palace most of the flights we took were commercial on British Airways, the national carrier,” Wharfe said. “BA were always very helpful with VIP departures and keeping the flights out of the press. I never had a problem with Diana, William and Harry on the numerous holidays we took to the Caribbean. We always flew commercial; in fact, I don’t remember flying private.”

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