Royal visitors walk the red carpet in downtown Los Angeles
First they enjoyed a polo match near Santa Barbara, then the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge returned to Southern California for an evening of socializing with the Hollywood elite.
Royal watchers in the Southland didn’t waste any time. Hundreds of people lined up outside the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles for a black-tie event, hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Some claimed a place in line hours before attendees were set to arrive.
Laura Rice, 38, arrived Saturday morning at 9. In the midst of a week-long vacation, the Pennsylvania resident planned her Southern California trek around the royal visit, an itinerary her father called a “nerd road trip.”
Rice, who teaches a high school British literature class, said she grew up as a fan of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana -- and seeing William and Catherine would be one for the books.
“It’s history, I just love that,” she said.
Juliet Smith, 48, of Las Vegas wanted to see what the royals looked like. Smith and her husband were married the same year as Charles and Diana, and she gave birth to her son the same year William was born.
“We planned it that way,” said Lenny Smith, Juliet’s husband, jokingly.
The royal watchers were treated to the arrival of Hollywood celebrities, who walked the red carpet well before the duke and duchess arrived. Among those attending were Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Hanks and Barbra Streisand.
Actress Zooey Deschanel said before the royal couple arrived that she was concerned about the state of the downtown streets.
“This is such a big deal and there are, like, parking lots filled with trash all the way here,” she said. “I hope they helicopter them in past that.”
Jonah Hill, a comedian, said he was looking forward to hanging out with Paul Rudd and Judd Apatow.
“I’m a huge Royals fan,” he said, laughing. “No, I don’t know. I thought it was going to be a unique experience and of course I’d want to meet them.”
Juno Temple, an British actress being honored at the event, said when she found out she was invited, she “freaked out.”
“I did a little dance in my bedroom,” she said.
Temple said she thinks the royal couple are great.
“What I love about them is that they just look so happy, and I think that’s so fabulous,” she said.
Catherine and William arrived just after 8 p.m. to cheers from the crowd. William was in a tuxedo, while Catherine wore a pale lavender floor-length chiffon gown.
-- Samantha Schaefer and Amy Kaufman in downtown Los Angeles
Photo: Prince William, his wife Catherine and Amada Berry, left, chief executive of BAFTA, walk the red carpet at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, "Brits to Watch," event at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles. CREDIT: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times