Prince William paid a long-awaited visit to New York City this week after an almost decade-long absence. His purpose for the visit was to participate in the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit at the Plaza Hotel on September 19, where he revealed the 15 finalists of this highly sought-after award.
Despite the brevity of his two-day stay, Prince William made the most of his time in NYC, engaging in diverse activities. Notably, he ventured into the East River, standing waist-deep, to collaborate with the Billion Oyster Project. Additionally, he had a meaningful visit to FDNY's Ten House, which is situated just across the street from the 9/11 Ground Zero memorial.
During his visit to the downtown New York City firehouse, Prince William graciously greeted his enthusiastic fans, leaving a particularly strong impression on Alyssa Budihas, a devoted admirer of the royal family. Alyssa, a native New Yorker and lifelong royal enthusiast, was moved to tears by the convergence of these two significant aspects of her life.
Following her emotional encounter with Prince William, HELLO! magazine interviewed Alyssa. She shared that she presented him with two New York City license plates bearing his name and Princess Kate's, along with classic “I Heart NY” t-shirts intended for Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. As a legal counsel at Wilmer Hale, Alyssa expressed her gratitude to the Prince for his visit and the gifts she had offered, emphasizing her appreciation for the experience.
Upon receiving her gift, Alyssa became emotional, shedding tears of joy. She expressed her feelings, saying she was “extremely overwhelmed and very happy.” She also conveyed her deep gratitude for the Prince's kindness and graciousness, which matched the image she had always held of him.
A resident of Greenwich Village, Alyssa pointed out that while New York City and a fascination with royalty may not typically go together, they certainly did for her, as both held a special place in her heart.
The devoted royal enthusiast further remarked, stating, “It felt almost serendipitous, as I'm only two blocks away from my office. So, this turned out to be quite convenient for me.”
When the long-awaited moment to meet Prince William finally arrived, Alyssa admitted that her hands were trembling, and she shared, “I was just thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, it's actually happening.' Having spent a significant amount of time in London and having a deep affection for the UK, it was quite amusing for everything to align this way here in New York. That's where I got the opportunity for the brief meet and greet.”
She went on to say, “He was truly exceptional, and I believe the efforts he's putting into the Earthshot initiative are incredibly significant.”
In addition to her encounter with Prince William, Alyssa had a brief conversation with his Chief of Staff. She shared, “I found it heartening to observe that they are also surrounding themselves with genuinely kind individuals.”