SANTA BARBARA, California (Reuters) - With transatlantic humor and effortless glamour, Britain’s Prince William and his new wife Kate charmed the deep-pocketed polo set on Saturday to raise funds for charity on their three-day visit to California.
The prince will later play in the polo match to benefit his, Kate and brother Harry’s foundation. William warned the polo patrons he would be back to collect the silver cup.
“I am not a good loser,” the prince said at a pre-match reception at a century-old polo club in the wealthy coastal city of Santa Barbara.
On Day Two of their first U.S. visit, the newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge easily slipped into the California lifestyle in a relaxed, glamorous and sporty manner. It is her first trip to the United States.
The duchess, admired for her fashion even before marrying William in London, wore a silver and marble gray hand-painted chinoiserie silk dress by Jenny Packham, while the duke sported a blue blazer over a white shirt and trousers.
The tickets for the match cost between $400 and $4,000 and proceeds will go to the foundation’s causes — military veterans and their families and sustainable development.
William peppered his brief remarks with humor — the kind that appeals to an American crowd.
“The prospect of being able to let loose this afternoon is wonderful for me. That is what sport is all about, being it polo, football — sorry, I mean soccer — or whatever your preferred sport is,” he said with comic effect.
Mindful of the economic austerity back home, William and Kate are making their California visit more about business than pleasure, with most activities centered on charity and trade promotion.
On their arrival in Los Angeles Friday from Canada, they went straight to a technology forum to encourage investment in a British tech hub. California Governor Jerry Brown gave the young royal couple an Apple iPad 2 loaded with California-themed songs and apps.
But celebrity was never far away in the entertainment capital of the world.
British soccer star David Beckham attended the reception in their honor on Friday. Later Saturday, A-list Hollywood stars from both America and Britain are expected at a black-tie dinner organized by the British Academy for Film and Television, of which William is president.
Writing by Mary Milliken; Editing by Bill Trott