Arriving at the airport he said: ‘It’s so good to be back in 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.
‘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’.
On Governor’s Island William was expected to meet schoolchildren who are studying marine biology and talk with employees of the Billion Oyster Project.
He was due to see the giant pile of oyster shells that are donated by 75 restaurants in New York rather than being sent to landfill sites.
And afterward – despite the gray skies and rain – he was due to wade into the East River from a small beach and put some oysters into the water.
The Prince left the Princess of Wales at home with the children as he travelled to the US – with Kate also not expected to join him for the Earthshot Awards ceremony in Singapore in November.
William was in Boston last year to announce the winners of the 2020 Earthshot Prize.
William founded the awards in 2020, saying he wanted to turn ‘current pessimism surrounding environmental issues into optimism by celebrating the people and places driving change’.
Every year between 2021 and 2030, an awards ceremony will honour winners in the prize’s five categories who are creating innovations which tackle environmental issues. Each winner is given £1million to support and scale their work.
But this is William’s first visit to New York since 2014 and was postponed from last year due to the death of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
Ahead of William’s arrival, a Kensington Palace spokesman said: ‘The prince was incredibly appreciative for the love and support shown by the American people during that time.
‘He is very much looking forward to being back in New York this week and hopefully meeting as many New Yorkers as possible’
On the trip William is scheduled to visit a fire station in Manhattan and meet with first responders and talk about mental health – his trip is just a week after the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
He is also due to meet the UN Secretary General António Guterres during the week where the UN General Assembly is meeting.
A meeting with US President Joe Biden, who is attending, is ‘unlikely’, the Kensington Palace spokesman said – the two men met last year in Boston.
It comes just days after his brother, Prince Harry, told veterans they ‘should not feel lost without a uniform’ during an emotional closing speech at the Invictus Games – three years after he was stripped of his military titles in the wake of Megxit.
The Duke of Sussex was visibly emotional in a heartfelt speech last at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The 39-year-old said during his five-minute closing speech that they ‘don’t need to rely on a uniform’ nor should they ‘feel lost without one’.
Prince Harry himself has not worn a uniform since he and Meghan moved away from the UK in 2020 and he was stripped off his military titles.
At the Queen’s funeral last year, Harry was pictured wearing a suit while his father King Charles and his older brother Prince William were wearing their uniforms.
At the Invictus Games, Harry added in his speech on why veterans don’t need rely on their uniforms: ‘Why? Because everything you need is already within you. Tomorrow you will each walk away with memories that are different and unique to you.
‘But my hope is that every memory made, brings a smile to your face through a sense of belonging and an opportunity for you and your family to look forward with price and purpose. ‘
Harry also said to the competitors how their ‘vulnerability’ had ‘opened the hearts’ of millions of people all over the world.
Meghan Markle stood alongside her husband in the crowd in a glowing green dress. During the ceremony she couldn’t hide her pride as she beamed at Team USA when they took their place for the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games.