LOS ANGELES - Prince William and his new wife, Kate, will make their debut on the world's largest celebrity stage today (Friday) with a brief California visit that combines the glitz of Hollywood with the grit of Skid Row in Los Angeles. In a town stuffed with A-list stars, William and Kate already shine the brightest and their three-day trip to Los Angeles has sent celebrity media into frenzy.
Searches on Yahoo! for the royal newlyweds are up 354 percent this week, fuelled by their much photographed first overseas visit to Canada, the online search engine said. But with Britain in the middle of an austerity drive, William and Kate will keep a lid on the celebrity side of the U.S. visit while elevating the charity work. "If they came to Hollywood and had dinner with Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise and hung out with David and Victoria Beckham and then went shoe shopping, that is definitely something they would be criticized for," an analyst told.
That royal restraint, however, hasn't stopped Los Angeles entertainment news outlets from airing special royal features three days ahead of their Friday arrival in Los Angeles. And the California tourist board capitalized on the visit to run promotions for the state's castles, and other tourist attractions, that are "fit for a king." The new Duchess of Cambridge may be making her debut on the world stage, and her first ever visit to the United States. But veteran royal watcher Andrew Morton, says Kate has taken to her new role "like a swan to water."
Morton sees the California trip primarily as "a chance for William and Catherine to pass around the begging bowl for their charities." In contrast to the flag-waving crowds and walkabouts in Canada, a Saturday charity polo match in the coastal town of Santa Barbara is expected to be the best chance for royal fans in California to get a look at the pair. The only star-heavy event is a black tie, $25,000 (15,651.41 pounds) per table dinner organized by the British Academy for Film and Television (BAFTA) of which William is president.
The BAFTA gala on Saturday will bring 42 young, British, emerging actors, directors, writers and videogame designers together with Hollywood studio executives. Organisers say there will also be a celebrity red carpet on the night and the guest list featuring "hot young things to (Hollywood) legends." Tom Hanks and Nicole Kidman are reported to be among those with an invitation. That is music to the ears of American celebrity magazines. A picture of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, William and Kate having dinner together would be my dream celebrity scenario -- a perfect juncture between royalty and celebrity.