(Photo: The Clarence House/St. James's Palace Press Office)
Southern Californians are on a "Royal Watch" starting today as Britain's Prince William and his wife, Catherine, arrive to begin a three-day swing through Tinseltown. However, according to Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, private secretary for the Royals, the popular newlyweds will not be sightseeing the Hollywood Hills, strolling down Venice Beach, touring the famous Kodak Theatre, or shopping on Rodeo Drive.
The Royal Tour is about charity and work in an effort to “reflect issues important to the duke and duchess.”
"All of the events the couple will attend reflect issues important to the duke and duchess, and are examples of why they chose to visit Los Angeles as part of their first official Royal Tour," according to Lowther-Pinkerton.
Will and Kate will touch down at Los Angeles International Airport today around 3:40 p.m. after spending a schedule-packed week in Canada.
The welcoming party greeting the couple will include Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald. California Gov. Jerry Brown, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
“There’s a lot of local interest in L.A. and in Southern California in their visit, so I think they’re going to get a warm welcome,” Sheinwald told reporters during interviews this week.
“I’m sure there’ll be a lot of interest and people will come to the venues that they’re at to try and get a glimpse of them. I’m sure a lot of people will see them one way or another in the course of the next few days.”
Sheinwald said there is a huge amount of cultural connection between Britain and the U.S. and we have a "very close military alliance.”
Immediately following their arrival in Los Angeles, Will and Kate will be whisked away for a business event in support of U.K. Trade and Investment followed by a reception at the British consul-general’s massive residence in luxurious Hancock Park.
Consul-General Dame Barbara Hay and the British government host "several thousand guests and receptions” at the house every year.
The royal couple will spend the night at Hay's home and wake up Saturday to a big breakfast fit for a king. They will immediately head to a charity polo match in Santa Barbara, followed by a black-tie dinner with Hollywood executives, celebrities and British talent in downtown Los Angeles.
Will and Kate will travel from Santa Barbara's polo grounds on Saturday to downtown L.A.'s Belasco Theater for the event, which is held to highlight emerging British talent in film.
On Sunday, the royal couple will meet children at the Inner-City Arts school along the well-known Skid Row, and then visit military families at a job fair for veterans at Sony Studios.
Movie stars associated with the BAFTA's "Brits to Watch" event, which includes some of the best in the business, will greet the newlywed royals Saturday at the Belasco in downtown L.A.
Prince William was named president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in February 2010.
Hollywood big hitters Jennifer Lopez and husband Marc Anthony, Nicole Kidman, Tom Hanks and Jack Black are rumored to have sent in RSVPs to the Saturday night event. Kristen Chenoweth, Dana Delany, Ginnifer Goodwin and "Dancing With the Stars" Derek Hough will also attend the private event, according to The Los Angeles Times.
On the lighter side of things in L.A., the legendary eatery Pink’s Hot Dogs is making sure they receive the royal treatment.
In honor of the fashionable newlywed’s visit to Southern California, the famous hot dog stand is offering the “Royal Dog”: two hot dogs in one bun topped with mustard, cheese, onions, pickle relish, two slices of bacon and a “spot” of Pink’s famous chili, the LA Times reports.
“It’s such an honor for the city of Los Angeles to have the royal couple come to Los Angeles, and we just wanted to express a warm welcome to them,” said Richard Pink, one of the owners of Pink’s.
Onlookers will no doubt make note of Kate's wardrobe changes along the way as fashion editors are in a constant frenzy trying to figure out "who she is wearing" through the day.
Most of the time, Kate does not wear flashy designer dresses and handbags from Dior, Chanel or Fendi. Instead, she carries understated shopper bags and fashionable form-fitting tasteful outfits that have caught the nation's attention.
Irish-born Leesa Whisker is the discreet woman in charge of Kate's new look. Based in London's smart Holland Park, Whisker had worked as a freelance fashion stylist for a broadsheet newspaper before setting up her own image consultancy three years ago, according to British reports.
“The U.K.-California relationship in many ways exemplifies the best of the relationship between the United States and the U.K. We have a very, very close economic and business relationship,” Sheinwald said.
Friday marks the first day of the first official visit to the United States by the duke and duchess, who have been touring Canada since June 30 and the couple seems to have made fast friends from the start with Canadians dubbing their country's reaction as "Kate Mania."
However, the LAPD and the newlyweds hatched a plan to keep the celebrity-hungry paparazzi at a distance, so photographers will have difficulty getting the kind of intimate, candid shots that get the big money.
Police are trying something new during the royal visit by planting officers in specified areas where the couple will reside and visit by creating a powerful police presence.
Hay's home, the Wallace Neff house, is one place that will be off limits to paparazzi. It is a sprawling 7,247 square foot mansion on June Street and has seven bedrooms and bathrooms.
“Officers secured trespass-prohibited letters from people who live in seven homes around the Hancock Park residence of the British consul-general, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are scheduled to spend the night Friday and Saturday,” LAPD spokeswoman Mitz Fierro said in a statement.
Officers told reporters at a press conference this week that the department will strictly enforce designated staging/parking for media and onlookers, street closures and viewing areas and violators will be arrested.
Security for the visit is being coordinated between the Los Angeles Police Department, the State Department and other agencies.
"We ask that the paparazzi be respectful and dignified," Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Michael Downing said. "And we will be respectful and dignified to the paparazzi."
The police expect hundreds of photographers at the royal couple’s arrivals and exits, including at the airport, skid row children’s center in downtown L.A., and polo grounds near Santa Barbara.
The royal couple has a number of official photographers so the public will get a look at scripted and non-scripted moments during their visit to California.
“All of these aspects of the relationship come through here in Los Angeles,” Sheinwald said.
“It is here in California ….and I think they were very, very keen to come here and to give the earliest possible expression of their commitment to U.K.-U.S. relations and to the human ties which have been developed over time.”
The public can watch the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit to L.A. Follow their trip through Los Angeles with the interactive Google map below and explore photos, videos and more. Visit: http://ukinusa.fco.gov.uk/en/news/royal-visit-la/
“Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting California from Friday 8 July to Sunday 10 July in a trip that will continue to deepen and strengthen the multi-layered links between the United States and the United Kingdom,” said Consul-General Dame Barbara Hay in a statement.
Here is a breakdown of the royal couple's daily schedule in California starting today:
On Friday, July 8, the the Duke and Duchess will arrive in Los Angeles and be met by Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald. They will attend a business event in support of U.K. Trade and Investment that brings together British and American technologists and Venture capitalists to find new avenues for investment and creating jobs in the United States and the U.K. In the evening the couple will meet California’s political, business, and philanthropy leaders at a reception at the British Consul-General’s residence in Los Angeles.
On Saturday, July 9, the Duke and Duchess will attend the centenary event of the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club, a charity event held in support of the American Friends of The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry. The Duke will play in the polo match, and the Duchess will present the prize to the winning team. That evening, they will attend a red-carpet event in support of the British Academy for Film and Television Arts, of which the Duke is President, at the Belasco Theatre in Los Angeles.
On Sunday, July 10, following a private engagement in support of Tusk USA, the American branch of Tusk Trust, of which the Duke is Patron, the couple will visit Inner-City Arts. Inner-City Arts is an organization that uses visual arts and performance to give inner city children an oasis of calm, fun, and learning. In their final event, the Duke and Duchess will then attend a job fair organized by Service Nation: Mission Serve for U.S. servicemen and women transitioning to civilian life.
The Duke and Duchess will then return to the United Kingdom that evening – possibly Monday morning.