LONDON, England: Prince William and his wife Kate, the new Prince and Princess of Wales, will travel to the U.S. for their first visit in eight years, leading to an intense media spotlight on the British royal family and the son of King Charles.
The visit comes amidst the release of a Netflix TV documentary and revealing memoir of William's Los Angeles-based younger brother Prince Harry and American wife Meghan, who will take the limelight at a prestigious awards ceremony next week.
Royal commentators and the British press will, therefore, have the opportunity to contrast the popularity and lives of the two brothers, whose relationship has declined in recent years.
In an interview with Reuters, royal biographer Andrew Morton said, "The royal family are a competitive bunch, they always have been and always will be. Prince William is the future king. Prince Harry no longer has a royal role. But nonetheless, they will be looking at the optics to see who had the biggest crowds, who had the most column inches and if they tell you otherwise, do not believe them."
During their visit, viewed by the royals as a trip rather than a more traditional tour, William and Kate will visit Boston to attend an awards ceremony for the Earthshot environmental prize launched by the Prince of Wales.
They will also visit local environmental, educational and community projects in Boston.
A few days later, Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will travel to New York for the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award, where they will be honored for their commitment to social change and human rights work, in a group which will also feature Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Harry and Meghan have become the royal villains in the UK, as they are seen to have turned their backs on duty, while using their royal status to forge lucrative careers and earn millions, including from an upcoming Netflix documentary series.
Meanwhile, William and Kate are portrayed in the UK media as dutiful and earnest, continuing the legacy of monarchy.
Polls suggest that Harry and Meghan are more popular with younger people in the UK that those aged over 60.
"Megan and Harry are a polarizing couple," said Morton, adding that the couple, who he described as "the king and queen of California," had been mobbed on their last trip to New York.
Erin Hill, U.S. People magazine's senior editor, told Reuters, "I think it is only natural for people to want to pit these two couples against each other. But I think American audiences are not viewing this as a competition."