William and Kate Outshined Even Hollywood’s Biggest Stars During L.A. Jaunt

William kisses Kate after his team won a charity polo match in Carpenteria, California on July 9.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have left Los Angeles, their nearly two-week tour at an end.

I don’t know how they do it: I’m exhausted, and that’s just from chasing them around California for a weekend.

They crossed and wooed Canada, and they were a huge hit in Hollywood. The gala dinner in L.A. was the highlight for many here. Were the royals star struck, or was it that the stars were more royal struck?

Tom Hanks, Jennifer Lopez, and Nicole Kidman were the true A-listers on the giant red carpet rolled out for the royal couple. Slipping through without quite the same level of attention were the men with the big checkbooks – all the big studios wanted a piece of the action.

At the cocktail reception, there was champagne and the very British summer drink Pimms. And the canapés? Fish, chips and “English pea puree,” a translation of the traditional mushy peas that gave a truly British slant to the menu.

William and Kate, with Jennifer Lopez, at the BAFTA dinner in Los Angeles on July 9.

Also walking the red carpet line-up were the 42 “Brits to Watch” – emerging talent. The list of up-and-comers included actors and actresses who added to the glamour, but every screen discipline was represented in the golden ticket to spend an evening schmoozing with the right people.

Some, like Gugu Mbatha-Raw, the former Doctor Who star currently featured alongside Tom Hanks in Larry Crowne, have already tasted Hollywood, but many were new to the experience. It was my first time reporting from a red carpet, too – something that can become a grind even for seasoned showbiz reporters. And I can see why: it was a constant stream of shouting for the soundbite, begging for an interview, and fighting over the best camera angle of the biggest name.

Still, some of the young directors, producers, and artists looked a little like rabbits trapped in the headlights as they awkwardly posed for the flashbulbs.

There were some well-known British faces making it big in the States – Piers Morgan, Gordon Ramsay and Cat Deeley, who hosted the evening.

Once inside, the rich and famous, more used to being pursued than doing the pursuing, surged forward for a handshake or to catch a few words with the royal couple.

Photographers found themselves battling with some big names to get a good position.

They talk about Hollywood royalty here, but you should see what happens when real royalty comes along.

It was a hectic weekend in California, tagged on to a long tour across Canada, but even heading to a school in downtown L.A.’s Skid Row, Will and Kate still shook the hands and greeted those who’d gathered to catch a glimpse.

Catherine at the City Arts campus in Los Angeles, July 10.

The pressure was on while visiting an art class: two empty canvasses were waiting, and the Duke and Duchess had a just a couple of minutes to make an impression on the youngsters and to rustle up a two highly coveted souvenirs. Catherine went big and swirled a snail, William went small and geometric. His father Prince Charles is a keen painter, but perhaps the Prince needed more time.

And while visiting Sony’s studio for a veterans’ job fair, they had a fanfare of booming rock music as a welcome. Surrounded by former servicemen, Prince William had a dig at his little brother Prince Harry for being an “average Apache pilot,” before stressing how important the armed forces are to them both on either side of the Atlantic.

The Royal couple were never going to be anything but warmly welcomed in a place where people love stars, and they don’t get much more famous than royalty.

For a newlywed couple on their first big royal tour, it was a punishing schedule.

Royal fans outside the BAFTA dinner, Los Angeles, July 9.

But the woman formerly known simply as Kate Middleton grew wonderfully into her role of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

With her flair for fashion, her warmth, and broad smile, she is truly a princess, especially to those who will claim to have brushed shoulders with her across the breadth of North America.