Hollywood royalty meets real British royalty
Quoting from "The King's Speech," the Oscar-winning movie about his great-grandfather, Prince William...
Quoting from "The King's Speech," the Oscar-winning movie about his great-grandfather, Prince William projected his royal voice on Saturday to woo the Hollywood power crowd in a bid with wife Kate to promote young British talent.
He in black tie, she in a pleated lavender Alexander McQueen gown, the young newlyweds set a tone of classic elegance for the most high-profile event in their three-day visit to the United States.
Hollywood royalty -- from actors Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, and Barbra Streisand to studio mogul Harvey Weinstein -- turned out for the couple of the moment at the $25,000 (15,564 pounds) a table gala organized by British Academy for Film and Television (BAFTA), of which William is president.
"I would like to thank Colin Firth for my perfect opening line -- I have a voice," William joked with the crowd, quoting one of the most famous lines in the 2010 movie about King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth who overcame a stammer.
Alas, Oscar winner Firth was not there nor were many established British actors. William and BAFTA instead wanted to introduce 42 emerging British actors, producers, writers and videogame designers to the movers and shakers of the entertainment capital of the world.
"Please give them the opportunities that you have always extended to some of the brightest and best that Britain has to offer," William told the gathering at the Belasco, a restored theatre in downtown Los Angeles.
"When American and British creative talent gets together, magic happens. Let's continue the winning formula."
British actor Stephen Fry praised the idea to promote Brits in Hollywood while fascination with the royal couple was at its height following their April wedding.
"Royalty creates a glamour, prestige and lustre that trumps anything Hollywood can produce," Fry said.
SKID ROW LIES AHEAD
That impact was likely what the royal family sought in the young couple's first official trip overseas, first to Canada and then to California.
And as images go, the second day in sunny Southern California for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was just about picture perfect.
On a green and glamorous Santa Barbara polo field, William and Kate charmed the deep-pocketed polo set and raised millions of dollars for charity. To top it off, William made good on his promise to win the charity polo match and scored four goals for his team, earning a pair of kisses from Kate.
While polo may be an elite sport, William and Kate have tried to make their visit to California anything but stuffy. On their final day Sunday, they will visit a children's art centre in the middle of Los Angeles' Skid Row and meet military veterans and their families.
Despite the high wattage celebrity turnout of Saturday night, the duke and duchess have tried to keep the celebrity quotient in check, mindful of how excess might not play well in a Britain beset by austerity measures.
The California visit is more about business than pleasure, with most activities centred on charity and trade promotion. Upon arrival Friday, they talked technology investment with a room full of innovators and financiers.
While the royal couple won't have contact with large crowds like they did in Canada, they did try to talk to ordinary Angelenos when they got the chance. At the end of the red carpet at the Belasco, they made a beeline to shake hands with a smattering of fans who'd been allowed in to see them up close.