British royal couple head to Hollywood

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Prince William and his new bride Catherine were due in Los Angeles on Friday for a weekend of Hollywood glamor and Californian sun, after a nine-day tour of Canada.

The heir to the British crown is also due to play polo up the Pacific coast in Santa Barbara, and visit an inner-city project in downtown LA during the three-day stay here, Catherine's first ever trip to the United States.

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.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge -- on their first official trip since marrying in April -- will arrive direct from Calgary, where they capped their Canadian tour at the world-famous Stampede.

California governor Jerry Brown is due to meet the couple at Los Angeles' LAX airport, along with LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the British ambassador to the United States, Sir Nigel Sheinwald.

Their first engagement Friday will be a conference supporting UK trade and investment, followed by an evening reception at the British consul-general's residence in Los Angeles, where they will stay during the trip.

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 29-year-old prince 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 in the day 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

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