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Royal couple's fans line up early for downtown L.A. appearance

July 10, 2011 | 10:01 am


Shortly after 7 a.m. Sunday, Julie Collins, 39, and her daughter, Emily, 9, who was wearing a small ornamental crown, were already lined up at the corner of Merchant and Seventh streets in downtown Los Angeles hoping to catch a glimpse of Prince William and his wife, Catherine.

Collins and her daughter had gotten up early to drive from their home in Mission Viejo to get a close-up view of the royal couple’s visit to Southern California. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are scheduled to arrive about 11:30 a.m. to tour Inner-City Arts, an arts education program on skid row.

Collins brought a picture of herself shaking hands with Princess Diana, whom she met on a trip to England in April 1990 when she was 18. In the photo, Collins is wearing the same tiara that her daughter Emily was wearing Sunday.

“It was a fantastic experience,” she said of meeting Diana. “Now with Will and Kate we stayed up and saw the wedding. When we heard they were coming to L.A., we couldn’t not be there. I’m hoping they’ll come by and say hi.”

Emily’s girl scout troop had drawn up a British flag on a piece of cardboard that she brought with her.

“I think it’s fun,” Collins said. “I love the history, and our heritage is from England. For us, it’s just special and fun and historic.”

Among the dozen onlookers who arrived early were Maria Chavez, 36, and her 16-year-old daughter, Isabel, of Compton.

“I had to come here today,” Chavez said. “This is historic. Prince William has a very special place in my heart."

Chavez said she got up at 5 a.m. to watch the royal wedding, “from the minute it started until the minute it ended.”

“And so I woke up my daughter this morning and said, ‘Do you want to see the royals?' "

There appeared to be less interest from some residents of the downtown neighborhood. One man pushing a grocery cart full of his belongings walked past TV trucks and asked what was going on.

When told what the hubbub was about, he sort of shrugged and said, “It might be good, I don’t know. I don’t think it will make any difference.”


Full coverage: The royal visit

Photos: Will and Kate’s Saturday in the Southland

Prince William, Catherine head to skid row to visit Inner-City Arts

-- Alexandra Zavis

Photo: Royal supporters wait in downtown Los Angeles for a visit by Britian's Prince William and his wife, Catherine. Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times