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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Brit-pack welcomes Kate the California girl to LA... but where was Posh, as David turns up alone

-Victoria skips party as Beckhams' baby girl due any moment
-Kate and William mingle with Stephen Fry and Prince's cousin Lord Freddie Windsor
-Duchess of Cambridge wears American designer Diane von Furstenberg

By Oliver Tree, Debbie Emery and Rebecca English

Hollywood royalty: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend an official reception in Los Angeles where they were welcomed by their friend David Beckham

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were the toast of Hollywood last night as they attended a reception on their first official visit to America.

The couple were joined by 200 guests for drinks and canapĂ©s in the garden of the Consul General’s residence in Los Angeles including David Beckham, Stephen Fry and Lord Freddie Windsor, who now lives in the city with his actress wife Sophie Winkleman.

Prince William was greeted warmly by David Beckham who had attended the couple's wedding in April. Although he was not on the official guest list for the party, royal aides said that he particularly wanted to welcome the couple to Los Angeles and deliver several signed LA Galaxy shirts which Prince William will auction for one of his charities.

Dressed in a black suit with a blue spotted tie, Beckham attended without his wife Victoria, who is due to give birth to a girl next week.

The footballer told Prince William: 'Victoria really wanted to come but she is just so tired at the moment. She sent you both lots of love. How was Canada? It looked amazing.'

Prince William replied: 'Don’t be silly, send her all our love and tell her good luck with it all. It’s been an amazing few days – we’ve been so lucky with all the incredible places we’ve been able to see and we’ve met so many fascinating people. It’s been amazing, amazing.'

Beckham also spoke about the media frenzy surrounding the birth of his first daughter.

He said: 'I woke up on Wednesday to a tonne of messages on my voicemail from our friends congratulating me on the birth of our daughter.

'I turned to Victoria and said: “Did I miss something?” Apparently it’s being reported every day that she’s already been born. One way or another, fingers crossed, she’ll be with us in the next few days.'

The reception was held at the home of Dame Barbara Hay, the Consul General, where Catherine and Prince William are staying during their visit. The couple arrived at 6pm to cheers from a small crowd of local residents. The surrounding roads in the area had been closed hours beforehand.

Old friends: Prince William chats with David Beckham who turned up especially to welcome the couple to Los Angeles

The Duchess had changed from her Roksanda Illinic lavender Peridot dress which she had worn on her arrival to Los Angeles. She attended the reception in an emerald green, silk-belted Maja dress by Diane von Furstenberg, accessorised with her favourite beige platform stilettos and a leopard print clutch bag, also by DVF.

Guests also included Bob Iger, the chief executive of Disney and those affiliated with The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, the charity Centrepoint (of which The Duke of Cambridge is patron) and a Los Angeles-based project, Inner-City Arts.

Prince William chatted with Stephen Fry, who is currently filming in Los Angeles and will attend Saturday night’s Bafta gala in honour of the Royal couple.

Held at the opulent Belasco Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, guests are set to include Barbra Streisand, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez and Tom Hanks.

The privilege of an intimate setting with the Duke and Duchess - and 300 A-listers - will set guests back £16,000, the cost of a table.

Fry commented on Prince William's blue and red striped Guards tie, saying: 'It’s nice and reassuring to see one of those all the way out here.'

William returned the compliment on Fry's purple, flowery tie: 'I’m loving your tie too, very jazzy.'

They then spoke about Shakespeare and Fry’s imminent visit to New Zealand to film The Hobbit.

The actor later said: 'Everyone is turning out to see them. The Bafta do is going to be lots of fun. Why are they such a big draw? Because having them here is like fairydust.'

Glowing: The Duchess of Cambridge looks delighted to be in LA as she mingles with guests at the home of Dame Barbara Hay, the Consul General

Quick change: Catherine swaps her lavender dress by Serbian-born designer Roksanda Illincic (L) for a green-belted dress by American designer Diane von Furstenberg

William and Kate flew into Los Angeles on the back of a successful tour of Canada - their first official overseas visit as a married couple.

The newly-weds have a busy schedule ahead of them in the U.S., which will take them from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to the poverty of Skid Row. Kate, stepped off the plane in a lavender dress from London-based designer Roksanda. The Prince wore a more formal blue suit. She was presented a red, white and blue bouquet.

In a bid to protect their privacy, police have enacted strict anti-trespassing measures to ensure that the city's notoriously keen paparazzi are kept at a distance.

Speaking shortly ahead of their arrival, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, Britain's ambassador to the US, said: 'They have had a fantastically successful trip to Canada and they will have a great welcome in California.

'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.'

Luvvie to see you: Prince William chats with actor and TV presenter Stephen Fry

The Duchess of Cambridge mingles at a reception at the reception at the British Consul General's office

Salute: William and Kate step down from the Canadian air force jet

Red, white and blue: The Duchess of Cambridge arrived with a bouquet of coloured flowers

They're here: Prince William and his wife Catherine descend from the Canadian Air force jet ahead of their tour of California

Touch down: The Royal couple looked relaxed as they arrived under blue skies in Los Angeles

California girl: The Duchess of Cambridge attends the UK Trade & Investment reception at the Beverly Hilton Hotel

As expected, security was incredibly strict as the press were subjected to body scans before being allowed access to the Tarmac.

Los Angeles police officers, CHP, sniffer dogs and private security details all kept a close watch on the 115 reporters who were gathered about 20 feet away from where the plane landed.

Simon Cowell's ex-girlfriend, Teri Seymour, was one of the excited reporters waiting to catch a glimpse of the royals as she talked on camera for US entertainment show, Extra.

As the group of 15 dignitaries came to meet the large grey plane embossed with the Canadian flag, the airport employees had trouble getting the stairs to attach to the door of the plane.

A motorcade of security gathered by the plane including CHP, police bikes and CIA agents in suits, dark sunglasses driving Range Rovers and black suburbans.

After a brief delay adjusting the ladder, William and Kate walked down to meet the dignitaries on the tarmac. She wore a light grey chiffon dress and was given a bouquet of red, white and blue roses by the governors wife.

Governor Jerry Brown told the Prince 'Welcome to California.'

After a few minutes of polite conversation they both got into the waiting black Range Rover and were escorted away by the waiting security patrol

Welcome: British Ambassador to the United States, Nigel Sheinewald, greets Prince William (L) with California governor Jerry Brown standing (in background) next to Catherine

There was near hysterical screaming outside Los Angeles's historic Beverly Hilton Hotel as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived for a new media summit straight from LAX.

Wearing a lavender Peridot dress by Serbian-born designer Roksanda Illinic, Kate remained unfazed by the media frenzy surrounding her Stateside arrival with William.

The couple were met by Neil Stiles, president of the entertainment magazine group Variety who jointly sponsored the Venture Capital New Media Summit with the UK Trade and Investment to promote British technological business interests in America.

After meeting delegates from the British and American technology sectors, William and Kate then took to the stage to become a part of the summit.

They looked on with interest about the discussions over the development of Tech City, the UK's answer to Silicon Valley, which is based in the Shoreditch and Old Street areas of East London.

On the panel were Shawn Colo, co founder of award-winning digital publishing business Demand Media and Ankur Shah, co founder of Techlightenment, a company which specialises in social media technology.

Other delegates included Matt Jacobson, head of market development at Facebook and Judah Schiller, founder and CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, the advertising firm.

Business: Variety Venture Capital & New Media Entertainment co-chair Paul Wright, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and President of Variety Neil Stiles attend Variety's Venture Capital and New Media Summit

The couple were then treated to a series of practical demonstrations of how technology is transforming our everyday lives.

The purpose of the trip is threefold - to promote British business, strengthen cultural ties and push forward causes close to William's heart.

The first engagement of the trip will be a UK Trade and Investment reception featuring technology experts from both sides of the Atlantic.

A key aim of the event is to generate support for Tech City, the area around Old Street in east London which is fast becoming a major base for innovative internet firms and software companies.

Other highlights will include a charity polo event in aid of the American Friends of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry and a glitzy Bafta black-tie reception during which the Duke and Duchess will promote British creative talent.

In contrast to the high society events, the royal couple will also go to Skid Row to see how a community arts organisation is helping youngsters in the socially deprived area of down town LA. Inner-City Arts uses visual arts and performance to give homeless and poverty-hit youngsters a creative outlet.

The royal couple's final event before jetting back to the UK will see them attend a jobs fair at Sony Pictures Studio staged by Service Nation: Mission Serve.

The body is an umbrella organisation set up by the US government which brings together different service charities to support the re-integration of servicemen and women into civvy street.

Outside the Beverly Hilton, where the motorcade arrived for the UKTI event, five budding royalwatchers got their first sighting of the royal couple.

The high school grads from Orange County had booked into the hotel as soon as they heard William and Kate would be visiting.

Hannah Schade, 18, who wore her royal wedding T shirt, says, ''We had our flag out and as they drove by they waved back at us.'

And the verdict? 'She looked gorgeous as usual," adds Tara Campbell, 17.

The pair, who were joined by friends Shirley Lahr, 18, Sarah Pontius, 18, annd Mari Walker, 18, to wait outside for two hours. The friends had all got together to hold a royal wedding party back in April and were all determined to celebrate the graduation from Rosary High School, Fullerton, with a royalwatching tour.

'We're hoping to make every event, especially the BAFTA one tomorrow,' Campbell adds.

And for the excited young women, it's all about Kate. "We like the transformation from commoner to royalty," says Schade. 'It's a fantasy.'

They've been following the progress through Canada to LA and Lahr adds, 'Kate's so composed. She's a great role model.'

Brian Gott, the publisher of Variety said the couple met 20 industry execs backstage before they met the panel including film director Brett Ratner who chatted with Prince William.

'The prince told Brett that he enjoyed his movies Rush Hour and Silence of the Lambs. He was very knowledgeable and made us all feel very relaxed. Kate apologised for having slightly clammy hands, she seemed a little nervous.

'William was very relaxed, he poured his own drink, apple juice, and extended his hand to everyone he met. They weren't in any hurry to get away. They were totally charming. I've met every star in the world but these are the two most genuine down to earth people I've ever met.'



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