Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Hollywood stars meet Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Hollywood royalty met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at a glittering Bafta dinner - and were left in their shade.

William and Kate outshone the stars of Tinsel Town who came out in support of British creative talent last night.

Some of the biggest names working in Los Angeles, from Tom Hanks to Barbara Streisand, were received by the world's most famous newlyweds.

The royal couple have become the toast of California after jetting into America on Friday for a whirlwind three-day visit, which comes after a successful tour of Canada.

Jennifer Lopez, Jack Black and James Gandolfini were also among the guests at the reception and black-tie banquet held at the 1920s art deco Belasco theatre in central LA.

British celebrities were represented by Stephen Fry, Cat Deeley and Gordon Ramsay.

But the loudest screams on the night from the hundreds waiting against crash barriers outside the theatre came when the Duke and Duchess arrived.

Kate looked stunning in a lavender coloured dress by Alexander McQueen and a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes.

The world famous actors who would normally draw large crowds in their own right appeared to be excited at the prospect of meeting the royals.

Before a reception in the theatre's ballroom, Duncan Kenworthy, the Academy's vice-president and one of Britain's leading producers, told the celebrities and other guests in the room to "be cool" and not to rush at the royals when they came in, but the couple proved a big draw.

Moulin Rouge star Kidman summed up the mood towards the Duke and Duchess when she said: "I think they are lovely. I just got off the phone to my mum and she said 'I'm so glad you're going, you're Australian' - they just make you smile."

William is president of Bafta - the British Academy of Film and Television Arts - and the organisation hosted the evening to highlight the range and depth of British talent in film, television and video games.

Forty-two emerging Brits were selected to attend the event to introduce them to the "movers and shakers" in Hollywood.

In a speech to the guests, William said: "As president of Bafta, I am immensely proud of the success Brits have had in the fiercely competitive world of film, television and video games. Their creative and hi-tech achievements have contributed greatly to our national wealth, not to mention our personal pleasure.

"Tonight I celebrate them: but I particularly celebrate the fact that, hard on their heels, comes another wave of enormously talented Brits, whom you have the chance to meet this evening. They deserve equal success and, with your help, will surely achieve it."

The royal couple later chatted to the 42 up-and-coming directors, actors, producers, cinematographers and video game designers before sitting down to dinner.

When the Duke and Duchess walked into the theatre's main auditorium, 27 tables were lavishly decorated in front of them.

The first and only table they stopped at was one where Hanks, Fry, and Gandolfini were sitting.

Kate chatted at length to the Sopranos star as did William but the other celebrities and guests around them did not get a chance to speak to the royals.

When the royals took their seats at the main table, despite the fact Streisand and Kidman were sitting opposite, they appeared engrossed in their own company.

The royals affectionately stroked each other and chatted away until Kidman stuck her hand across the table by way of a re-introduction following her brief meeting with the royals in the ballroom.

Streisand also made the first move but had to get past a large lamp to shake hands with the royals.

Dinner staff in bowler hats, Union flag-inspired outfits and Edwardian-style waistcoats gave the night a British feel.

And the guests drank from gold rimmed glasses and ate from antique-style plates at tables dressed with blooms of English dahlias and roses.

The menu blended British tradition with a touch of California cuisine.

Highlights included a courgette and mint tian to start, followed by a fillet of beef. For dessert, guests enjoyed a version of Eton Mess.

The royal tour of California ends later today and the couple will attend a private reception for the American branch of Tusk Trust, a conservation charity of which William is patron.

The royal couple's interests - William's in helping the homeless and Kate's in the use of the arts to unlock the potential of young people - will come together when they visit a body called Inner City Arts.

The organisation works in a deprived neighbourhood of LA which has problems with rough sleepers, using visual arts and performance to give youngsters a creative outlet.

The royal couple's last event will see them attend a jobs fair at Sony Pictures Studio staged by Service Nation: Mission Serve.

The body is an umbrella organisation set up by the US government which brings together different service charities to support the reintegration of servicemen and women into civvy street.

William will give a short speech and then join Kate to help pack care packages for relatives of servicemen and women deployed on operations.