British royal couple take charm tour to Hollywood
Britain's Prince William and his new bride Catherine arrived in Los Angeles on Friday for a weekend of Hollywood glamour and Californian sun, after a nine-day tour of Canada.
The 29-year-old is also due to play polo up the Pacific coast in Santa Barbara, and visit an inner-city Skid Row project in downtown Los Angeles during the three-day stay, Catherine's first ever trip to the United States.
The couple -- she in a short-sleeved light-colored dress, he in dark blue suit and tie -- were greeted by California Governor Jerry Brown and others after flying from Calgary, where they ended their Canadian tour.
Under bright West Coast sunshine, Catherine clutched a colorful bouquet of flowers as she and William chatted to dignitaries also including by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the British ambassador to the US, Sir Nigel Sheinwald.
From the airport they were whisked in a motorcade to Beverly Hills for a hi-tech investment forum, before heading to the British consul-general's house for an open-air evening reception around a pool.
In the first sign of the US public fascination with the young royals, crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of them as they arrived at the residence in the upscale Hancock Park neighborhood, where they will stay for the weekend.
Officially, the Californian mini-tour will aim to "contribute to deepening and strengthening the multi-layered links between the United States and the United Kingdom," according to a British official briefing.
Unofficially, all eyes are on who they will meet during the barely 48-hour stay in Los Angeles, which will include an evening promoting British film talent in Hollywood.
"They have had a fantastically successful trip to Canada and they will have a great welcome in California," said Sheinwald, shortly before they landed in Los Angeles.
"They will meet a huge range of people from the governor to people working in the projects of Skid Row. They will get a good snapshot of life in this part of California," he told the BBC.
On Saturday they head up the coast for a charity polo match at the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club, in aid of the American Friends of The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry.
The prince -- second in line to the British crown after his father Prince Charles, although tipped as more popular to succeed Queen Elizabeth II -- will play, while Catherine, also 29, will present a prize to the winning team.
On Saturday evening, they will attend a black-tie dinner hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), of which William is president, at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles.
The aim of the event will be to give up-and-coming British actors a chance to meet Hollywood movers and shakers.
Britain is well represented in LA, and there has been much speculation that they could squeeze in meetings with David and Victoria Beckham -- guests at their wedding -- or Elton John, a close friend of William's mother Diana.
On Sunday, they will visit "Skid Row" in downtown to visit the Inner-City Arts school, a nonprofit academy that provides free classes in visual and performing arts to children from poor neighborhoods.
"We are beyond thrilled that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be spending a portion of their brief time in Los Angeles with Inner-City Arts," said the group's head Cynthia Harnisch.
Later Sunday they will attend a job fair for military veterans at Sony Studios in Culver City, before leaving Los Angeles to return to the United Kingdom after their 12-day north American trip.
© 2011 AFP