The royals made a big splash in Southern California, even though they did not have time to set foot in the Pacific.
At the end of their North American tour, William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, spent three days hobnobbing with L.A.’s movers and shakers. They managed to schedule social media, polo, black tie mania and inner city kids into a three-day whirlwind.
Always a fashionista, Catherine stepped off the royal aircraft at LAX as if she was arriving at a fashion show, not an airport runway. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Governor Jerry Brown greeted the duo before they headed to the Beverly Hilton.
First stop: Variety’s Venture Capital and New Media Summit to support U.K. Trade and Investment development. The event, in association with InternationalESQ, addressed changes being made in showbiz, technology and product development.
The glam duo also attended a garden party held at the Hancock Park estate of British Counsel General Dame Barbara Hay, who hosted the couple’s weekend visit. Mostly business types were in attendance, but David Beckham stopped to see his friends, while wife Victoria, who never misses a gala, stayed home on baby watch. Their new daughter was born two days later.
Chef Giada de Laurentiis, whom we’ve featured in this column, prepared the menu for a Saturday luncheon at the Santa Barbara Polo Club. Guests paid $100,000 for charity to play polo and dine with Prince William. Others spent much less to sit in the stands.
Giada, who’s no stranger to cooking for VIPs, said, “This is the highlight of my career. I made a plethora of desserts because I know that Prince Harry loves them as much as I do!”
After hours at the Polo Club, Will and Kate returned to Los Angeles to change into formal wear for the famed black-tie BAFTA event at the Belasco Theatre. William is president of the organization.
Hollywood’s A-list turned it out on this gorgeous summer evening. Nicole Kidman, Barbra Streisand, James Brolin, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Jennifer Lopez, Mark Anthony, James Gandolfini, Kristin Chenoweth, Harvey Weinstein, Berry Gordy, Judd Apatow and the honored “42 Brits to Watch” were part of the impressive group.
Prince William said, “I’d like to thank Colin Firth for my perfect opening line: ‘I have a voice’ (referring to The Kings Speech). I am immensely proud of the success Brits have had in the fiercely competitive world of film, television and video games. Their creative and high-tech achievements have contributed greatly to our national wealth, not to mention personal pleasure.”
He continued, “When Americans and British creative talent gets together, magic happens. Let’s continue the winning formula. Lights, camera, action!”
On Sunday, the couple had an opportunity to meet underprivileged children and participate in art projects at the Inner City Arts School. They squeezed in a visit to producer Steve Tisch’s home, where an intimate charity event for 40 was held for Tusk USA, which promotes African heritage.
Their final destination: Stage 15 at Sony Studios, where they attended the ServiceNation: Mission Serve Job Fair to strengthen British and American military ties. This was the studio where The Wizard of Oz was shot.
The weekend was fit for a king, oops…a prince!
Sue Facter runs a news agency that specializes in luxury brand development. Her credits include “USA Today,” “Los Angeles Times” and “Women’s Day Australia.”