William and Kate close North American tour, head home
Published Sunday, July 10, 2011 9:22PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 5:19AM EDT
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge headed back to the United Kingdom on Sunday after a hectic weekend that included a polo match, a glitzy party in Los Angeles and several charity events.
The California stopover came after a nine-day cross-country tour of Canada, the first Prince William and Catherine have made since their marriage in April.
Prior to boarding the plane, the Duke and Duchess were in Culver City, Calif. for an employment fair aimed at helping U.S. veterans find jobs.
Companies that were manning the employment booths include Mattel, Walmart, Warner Bros. and CBS.
U.S. paratrooper Ross Cohen, who served in Afghanistan, told the Associated Press that the event was important for the military. He said unemployment rates for young veterans and their spouses are as high as 25 per cent.
After the fair, the royal couple helped prepare care packages for children of deployed military servicemen and women.
The event wrapped up the royal couple's first official foreign tour that started in Ottawa on June 30.
Earlier on Sunday, William and Kate were greeted by a crowd of nearly 150 people in Los Angeles' Skid Row, an area in the city's downtown core with a high percentage of homelessness and low-income housing.
Kate wore a navy-and-white crochet top and a white pleated skirt, both by U.K. fashion company Whistles as she met young artists and dancers from a non-profit arts academy.
The royal couple also took in a performance by young dancers who have been rehearsing for weeks. The teens showed off hip-hop and ballroom dance moves, and then talked about the importance of the academy.
"Inner City Arts has helped me discover who I am and what I want to do with my life," one dancer told CTV's Tom Walters.
Before arriving in Skid Row, Prince William and his wife attended a private party for the wildlife conservation charity Tusk.
Tusk supports around 40 conservation programs in 17 countries across Africa. Prince William started supporting the charity in 2005, years before the duke proposed to Kate in Kenya.
At the private reception, other Tusk benefactors had the opportunity to rub elbows with the duke and duchess.
"We are thrilled that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have found time within their busy schedule to meet some of our key donors," Charles Mayhew, founder and CEO of Tusk, said in a statement.
William and Kate's visit to the Sunshine State has been a more casual affair compared to the frenzied welcome they received when they travelled across Canada.
On Saturday, William scored four goals and led his team to victory during a charity polo match at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club.
Crowds rushed onto the field after William's win, much to the chagrin of an announcer pleading for the fans to return to their seats. Security eventually used a line of rope to pull the crowds back.
"My father, the Prince of Wales, and my brother, Harry, were as green as that grass outside when I told them I'd be here today," William later said at a reception where guests sipped champagne and whiskey.
"Catherine and I have had a busy few days -- so the prospect of being able to let loose this afternoon is wonderful for me."
William wore a white shirt and trousers with a blue blazer while his wife sported a silver and marble-grey hand-painted silk dress by British designer Jenny Packham.
The cheap seats cost $400, while anyone paying $4,000 for a VIP ticket got a chance to hobnob with William and Kate.
That night, the royal couple had a chance to rub shoulders with a crowd of Hollywood heavyweights at a lavish party organized by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, of which William is president.
The couple also had a chance to meet with some of their non-Hollywood fans while they walked the red carpet.
"I thought they would just walke by but I actually got to meet them. I got to shake their hand and literally, Kate looked at me and said ‘your earrings are really pretty,'" one young royal watcher said on Saturday outside the restored 1920s-era Belasco Theatre in downtown Los Angeles where the party was held.
And even celebrities were star-struck by the British couple.
"I think they're totally chic and they just can't help but look fantastic," Kristin Chenoweth said on the red carpet.
Kate wore a flowing lilac dress with white waistband by Alexander McQueen. Fans cheered as the pair walked the red carpet and the couple responded by walking over and shaking a few hands.
"Before I start, I'd just like to thank Colin Firth for my opening line: I have a voice," William quipped in brief remarks to the audience, referring to Firth's role as King George VI in the acclaimed film "The King's Speech."
Several actors such as James Gandolfini, Don Cheadle, Blake Lively and Kristin Chenoweth were in attendance — but it was the duke and duchess who ended up stealing the spotlight.
Actress Rosario Dawson praised Kate for her elegant fashion sense, calling it effortless.
"I think Catherine seems very in her body," she said. "She seems very clear about who she is. She doesn't dress too old, she doesn't dress too young"
Director and actor Billy Zane was similarly star-struck by the royal visit, saying he was pleased that the couple decided to visit California.
"It's nice to be able to host them here," Zane told The Associated Press. "I'm thrilled they showed up so soon."
Will and Kate arrived in California on Friday after a nine-day trip to Canada, their first foreign excursion since getting married in April.
Though Prince William has been to America before, it is Kate's first trip to the U.S. William's late mother, Princess Diana, who would have turned 50 this month, charmed Americans when she visited in the 1980s.
With files from CTV's Tom Walters and The Associated Press