From stars to Skid Row: Royals end California tour

Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:30am EDT
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By Jill Serjeant and Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Britain's Prince William and wife Kate ended their southern California stay on Sunday, bearing witness to both the poverty of Skid Row and the power of Hollywood.

In their first trip to the United States since marrying in April, the royal couple chose to favor charity and business over celebrity in their three-day visit.

But the glitterati of Hollywood were never far away, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge drew the movie stars and studio executives to help raise funds and awareness for their causes in the entertainment capital of the world.

At their final event at Sony Studios to support military families and a job fair for veterans, William said he would take ideas home to Britain, where he serves as a Royal Air Force pilot and Kate is a military wife.

"I am delighted, therefore, that our Foundation -- and in that I include Harry, my low-flying Apache, very average brother -- is a partner in today's event," William quipped to the crowd. "We have much to learn from you."

Earlier in the day and far from the media glare, the royal couple was given a private tour of Skid Row, the gritty terminus for the homeless in downtown Los Angeles and a growing population of single mothers after the economic recession.

The tour was a late addition to the royal agenda and served as preparation for a visit to the Inner-City Arts Center for children living around Skid Row, one of the largest concentrations of homeless people in the United States.

It was also a stark contrast to the opulent events on Saturday -- a charity polo match in coastal Santa Barbara and a black-tie dinner with Hollywood royalty.   Continued...

<p>Britain's Prince William speaks at the Mission Serve: Hiring Our Heroes event in Culver City, California July 10, 2011. Prince William and his wife Catherine are on a royal visit to California from July 8 to July 10. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>