Environment / Politics

Is there any diplomatic benefit to Kate and Will’s visit?

“I hope that after a couple of days of this very intensive program there will be a lot of happiness being shared, but I also hope that it will do a great deal of good for the United States and the United Kingdom,” British Ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott said.

While fostering good relationship ties and finding areas of common interest are certainly goals for Kate Middleton and Prince William’s visit to the United States, past royal encounters have sparked controversy within both countries, be it from when Nancy Reagan curtsied to when Michelle Obama gave Queen Elizabeth II a hug. While these visits are intended to bridge the gab between England and America, it becomes interesting to analyze the agendas of two of the most powerful nations when they meet.

Primarily, it seems Will and Kate are focusing heavily on issue advocacy and fundraising for a range of non-profits. British Ambassador Westmacott explained, “They’re doing a number of things to support charities they really care about – disadvantage young people, mental health, illegal wildlife trade, which is something they have worked on in the past.” While it cannot be argued that these topics do not enhance both nations’ well being, these rare meetings seem to offer a platform for more drastic change and impact. Kate and Will’s presence is either a prime platform for Michelle Obama to bolster her healthy eating campaign or Barack Obama to continue his fight for clean energy.

While most of the royals’ visit does not occur in Washington, DC, it does seem to have one common thread: meeting with top Democratic leaders. While Will meets with Obama earlier in the day, later that evening the Duke of Cambridge and William will meet with Chelsea and Hillary Clinton in New York for a conservation reception co-hosted by the Clinton Foundation. This reception will be in recognition of the conservation work by many charities William is involved with, including Tusk Trust and United for Wildlife.

Despite the soft news and trivial feel to the visit, William and Kate are drawing attention to charities and important issues by simply appearing. For instance, the couples’ Royal Foundation has entered into a partnership with the NBA to support the Coach Core program for youth. To highlight this fact, they’re attending the Brooklyn Nets game that evening against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Overall, William and Kate’s visit can only be seen as constructive to both nations. Despite the opportunity for controversy over the proper way to greet one another and the overarching time spent with Democratic leaders, it is important for communication to exist between nations. This is not only imperative for large, urgent matters, but also for less publicized topics, such as improving youth programs and protecting wildlife trade.