NEW YORK — Britain’s Prince William and Princess Kate arrived in New York City on Sunday, the royal couple’s first official visit to the U.S. and their first experience with the Big Apple.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s black Cadillac Escalade pulled up in front of the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan to a throng of media and shrieking admirers, who were kept behind police barricades across Madison Avenue.
Both smiled at the well-wishers with Kate, who is expecting their second child in April, showing off a small bump underneath her maroon coat.
“It’s good to be here,” William told the hotel’s managing director Giovanni Beretta, who was standing outside the entrance to greet the royal couple, who had just spent seven hours on a flight from London.
The Carlyle Hotel was a favorite of William’s mother, the late Princess Diana, during her frequent visits to Manhattan in the 1990s. Other celebrity guests over the years have included Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs, John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.
Wendy Hahn and her husband, Paul Hahn, began waiting at 1 p.m. for the royal couple’s arrival outside the hotel. By the time the Duke and Duchess arrived, just before 6 p.m., with temperatures dipping into the 30s, the Hahn’s were ordered by police to stand across the street behind metal barricades.
When William and Kate stepped out of their car in front of the Carlyle entrance, “I didn’t see anything,” said Wendy Hahn. “It was really disappointing; I saw nothing thanks to the NYPD. And we’re kind of numb from the cold.”
She had seen another royal couple — Charles and Diana — when they arrived at Andrews Air Force base in the mid-80s and she was in the military.
“I followed Charles and Diana, so I wanted to see William and Kate,” said the Connecticut resident, shivering in the cold. “I think they’re great; they’re more real than other generations of royals.”
Paul Hahn said he wouldn’t have come, “but I drove in because of my wife.”
Earlier Sunday, after arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport on a British Airways flight, the royals were greeted by Peter Westmacott, British ambassador to the U.S., and his wife; British Consul General Danny Lopez; and Peter Selfridge, U.S. chief of protocol.
William and Kate have a full schedule of events in New York, including a visit to the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum and a basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
William is also scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday while visiting Washington to attend a World Bank conference. At that meeting, he is expected to speak about combating illegal trade in wildlife parks. Kate was scheduled to tour a New York child development center with the city’s first lady, Chirlane McCray.
Their visit will also include some events with other high-profile guests. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton are accompanying William and Kate to a New York reception highlighting conservation efforts.
At a black-tie scholarship fundraiser for the University of St. Andrews, other guests expected include Tom Hanks and opera singer Renee Fleming. The ticket price went up to $10,000 per seat. The royal couple met at St. Andrews; both earned degrees from the Scottish school.