Stars in their eyes: when LA's royalty met the real thing

With the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Nicole Kidman virtually falling over themselves to meet the royal couple in front of photographers, it seems that even in Hollywood there are no names more alluring on a guest list than the two HRHs.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge followed up a trip to Canada, which has already been hailed a triumph, with a three-day tour of the US.

As they prepared to fly home last night, it seemed they had gone down a storm in the US, too.

The Prince scored four goals in a charity polo match in front of celebrity spectators Billy Zane, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Rob Lowe on Saturday, before the Duchess was again lauded for her fashion sense, walking down the red carpet outside the 1920s art deco Belasco theatre in central LA, wearing a lavender Alexander McQueen dress.

Former England footballerDavid Beckham welcomed the couple to California, but was without his pregnant wife Victoria. The footballer and the Duke are known to be friends and joined forces last year to throw their weight behind England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Tom Hanks, Barbara Streisand, Jack Black and James Gandolfini were among the others drawn to the dinner – and such was the sense of excitement among them that Duncan Kenworthy of Bafta even felt compelled to urge the guests to "be cool" and not all rush at once to meet William and Kate.

It was Stephen Fry who best summed up the fever in the room: "They are an extraordinary selling point that no other nation has," said the British actor. "Picture for a second the grandson of the president of Italy arriving in LA – it just wouldn't interest anybody."

Another famous supporter was Kidman. "I think they are lovely," she said. "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."

Joining established home-grown TV stars Cat Deeley and Gordon Ramsay on the guestlist were Bafta's selection of 42 emerging UK stars, including comedian Joe Cornish who recently directed his first film, Attack the Block, and actress Talulah Riley.

While photographers found it difficult to divert their lenses from the royals, Prince William championed the achievements of his compatriots.

"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," he said.

"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."

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