British royals to star at US polo match
Britain's Prince William will be the star of the show at a charity polo match Saturday, on the second day of a weekend trip to California with his new wife Catherine.
The royal couple, in the western US state for three days after a nine-day tour of Canada, will also use their star power to promote British actors and filmmakers in Hollywood.
After arriving in Los Angeles from Calgary on Friday, they spent the night at the residence the British consul-general in Los Angeles, who also hosted a reception for them on their first evening in town.
On Saturday they will travel an hour up the Pacific coast to the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club, for a charity match in aid of the American Friends of The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry.
The 29-year-old prince, second in line to the British throne after his father Prince Charles, will demonstrate his horsemanship while Catherine will present the prize to the winning players.
Tickets for the one-off event have been fetching thousands of dollars, and spectators will certainly hope to get their money's worth, whether or not William wins -- or takes a tumble.
But the prince, who follows in his father's and grandfather's footsteps in playing polo, may have to watch out for a more aggressive American approach to a sport perceived as an upper class in Britain.
"There's huge differences," said Ebe Sievwright, a player and coach with the California Polo Club who is also a British-born actor who says he has played with William.
"Polo in England is very Argentine influenced, and in America there is a great history of cowboys and riding from their own history out in the Wild West," he told CNN.
"It will be interesting for William out in Santa Barbara to play in a game where it's really flowing like a pinball game," he added.
Whatever the outcome on the polo field, the couple will have to pick themselves up Saturday evening for a black-tie dinner hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in downtown Los Angeles.
William is BAFTA's president, and the aim of the event will be to give up-and-coming British actors a chance to meet Hollywood movers and shakers.
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 California.
Britain is well represented here, and there has been much speculation that they could squeeze in meetings with David and Victoria Beckham -- guests at their April 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.
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