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Royal watchers gather at Beverly Hilton, Will and Kate’s next stop

July 8, 2011 |  4:43 pm

Click for more photos of the royal visit

As media and technology types discussed topics such as the future of Facebook inside Beverly Hilton conference rooms, a crowd of about 50 gathered in the hotel lobby, hoping to secure a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their first stop in the U.S. as a couple.

As the couple faced brief delays -- they were originally expected to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport at 3:40 p.m. -- eager fans stood around the lobby of the hotel, where the New Media and Venture Capital Conference was being held.

Vanessa Ross of Visalia and her daughter, Ava, said seeing the royal couple could be just as exciting as her three-day visit to Disneyland. The 7-year-old said she watched the royal wedding and liked Kate's dress.

Photos: The Duke and Duchess in L.A.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us," her mother said.

Melissa Jensen, who was on a road trip from Washington to Arizona, said she had to persuade her husband to stay in Los Angeles an extra couple days to see the duke and duchess. They booked a room at the Hilton in anticipation of the couple's arrival.

"I've loved Prince William since he was born," Jensen, 44, said.

She stayed up all night for Diana's wedding and funeral, and then for Prince William's wedding.

"This is a big highlight for me," she said.

She said she will remember the sighting forever -- if she's lucky enough to spot them.

"It's such a star-struck feeling," she said. "I don't live in L.A., where you see celebrities all the time."

Kelly Foley, 37, of Princeton, N.J., said a glimpse of the couple would be the most exciting celebrity sighting of her life.

"I think my heart would be pounding," she said.

Foley, visiting California for a wedding, said she's been fascinated with the family for years.

"Maybe it's because the U.S. doesn't have royalty is why it's fun for us to follow," she said.


FULL COVERAGE: The Royal Visit

Photos: The Duke and Duchess in L.A.

Hancock Park neighbors hope for a peek at Will and Kate

Pink's Hot Dogs to give Will and Kate the royal treatment

-- Nicole Santa Cruz at the Beverly Hilton

PHOTO: Prince William and his wife, Catherine, arrive at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday afternoon. CREDIT: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times