Prince William visited New York City for the first time in almost a decade this week. His purpose was to attend the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit held at the Plaza Hotel on September 19. During this event, he revealed the 15 finalists competing for the prestigious prize.
Despite his brief two-day stay, Prince William made the most of his time in NYC. He engaged in various activities, including immersing himself in the East River up to his waist with the Billion Oyster Project. He also had a meaningful visit to FDNY's Ten House, which is located across the street from the 9/11 Ground Zero memorial.
One remarkable moment occurred when Prince William visited the downtown New York City firehouse. Enthusiastic fans were left in awe as the Prince took the time to greet them. Among these admirers, Alyssa Budihas, a lifelong royal enthusiast and a native New Yorker, was particularly moved by the encounter.
Alyssa, who serves as a legal counsel for Wilmer Hale, had a chance to speak with Prince William after their emotional meeting. She presented him with two NYC license plates bearing his name and Princess Kate's, along with classic “I Heart NY” t-shirts for Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
Reflecting on this exciting experience, Alyssa expressed her gratitude, stating, “I thanked him for coming to visit us and I gave him three ‘I Love New York' t-shirts, one for each of the children.”
Upon receiving Alyssa's gift, Prince William's gesture moved her to tears. She expressed her emotions, saying she felt “extremely overwhelmed and joyful” and conveyed her gratitude, stating, “I am deeply thankful that he displayed the kindness and grace I had always envisioned.”
Alyssa, who resides in Greenwich Village, pointed out that while New York City and royal enthusiasm may not typically intersect, they certainly did in her case.
The devoted royal enthusiast also mentioned, “It seemed almost serendipitous; I'm just two blocks away from my workplace. So, it all worked out quite conveniently for me to step out for a while.”
When the long-awaited moment to meet Prince William finally arrived, she admitted that her hands were trembling. She went on to say, “I was just thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, it's really happening.' I've spent a considerable amount of time in London, and I have a deep affection for the UK. So, it was quite amusing for everything to come together like this right here in New York. That's where I had this impromptu meet and greet.”
She went on to say, “He was truly impressive… and I believe the efforts he is putting into… being here for Earthshot, I find the work he's engaged in to be very significant.”
Alyssa also had a brief conversation with Prince William's Chief of Staff and remarked, “I found it reassuring to see that they have such compassionate individuals in their circle as well.”