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Royal couple eagerly awaited by veterans at job fair

July 10, 2011 | 12:59 pm

Veterans line up at the ServiceNation "Hiring Our Heroes" job fair at Sony Pictures Studio in Culver City.

By noon there was a noticeable buzz among the crowd gathered at Sony Studios in Culver City awaiting the arrival of Prince William and his wife, Catherine, who were scheduled to attend a job fair for veterans.

As job seekers and employers milled around Sony Studios' Stage 15 for the Mission Serve: Hiring Our Heroes Los Angeles job fair, media crews set up cameras and prepped for the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. A small crowd also gathered in front of the stage — draped by floor-to-ceiling U.S. and British flags — in hopes of getting a good view of the royals.

R.C. Taylor, who has served in the Air Force for 14 years, said she heard about the job fair months ago, and it was an "added bonus" that the royals would be in attendance.

"It just says a lot about them — that they're of the people and for the people, so to speak," the Orange County resident said.

Jesse Willard, who served in the Marines for 13 years, said he thought the visit reflected on William's commitment to the military. William is a rescue helicopter pilot in the Royal Air Force and focuses much of his charitable work on supporting military members and their families.

"I think for them to come out. For him as a military individual, he has a lot of interest in this and showing his support," the 48-year-old Westchester resident said.  "Employment's a very big concern ....  We need all the support we can get — this is a big thing."

Nick Booth, chief executive of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, which focuses on helping disadvantaged youths, the environment and the armed forces, said Sunday's event was an opportunity for the foundation to learn about additional ways to reach out to members of the military.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate to the duke and duchess what is happening and how successful it can be," Booth told the crowd just after noon.

Eager spectators said they were pleased to know William and Catherine would attend the fair.

"It just shows how humble they are — they're so busy and they didn't have to do this, and the fact that they are says a lot about them," Kathy Foster, 52, Los Angeles, said. "I love them and I don't even know them. His mother, Lady Di, would be very proud of him."

The event marked the last appearance by the duke and duchess on their weekend tour of Southern California. Earlier Sunday they attended at tour of Inner-City Arts, an arts education program located in downtown's skid row.

They were set to arrive at Sony Studios in Culver City about 1:15 p.m., and to depart from Los Angeles International Airport following the event.

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-- Kate Mather in Culver City

Photo: Veterans line up at the ServiceNation "Hiring Our Heroes" job fair at Sony Pictures Studio in Culver City. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

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