On 2nd day in US, Will to star in game of kings

Associated Press
Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, share a laugh during a private reception at the British Consul-General's residence in Los Angeles, Friday, July 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool)
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Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, share a laugh during a private reception …

CARPINTERIA, Calif. (AP) — The prince will duke it out in the game of kings.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were scheduled to make a recreational detour on their busy weekend business trip to Los Angeles on Saturday, when they will attend a charity polo match near the swanky seaside city of Santa Barbara.

Both Prince William and his brother, Prince Harry, regularly play polo during the summer months. The horseback sport, sometimes referred to as the game of kings, is known for its fast pace, dangerous maneuvers and exclusivity.

Saturday's match will take place at the posh Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. For the price of a $4,000 ticket, guests can perhaps meet the prince and princess and watch William lead his fellow polo players into competition. The former Kate Middleton will present the trophy to the winning team.

Those who can't afford to chow down with the royal couple can purchase a $400 ticket that will get them admission to the grandstand, a box lunch and a souvenir program. Proceeds will go to charity.

By midmorning, men in blazers and women in brightly colored dresses and wide-brimmed hats decorated with feathers and ribbons began to trickle onto the grassy areas either side of the polo field. The weather was unexpectedly overcast, with clouds hanging low over the nearby hills and a slight breeze in the air.

White fences lined the field — celebrities and other VIPs on one side and the spectators who paid $400 a ticket on the other. White tents and tables with white tablecloths were punctuated with sprays of white flowers. Among the celebrities expected to rub shoulders with the royals were Rob Lowe, Zoe Saldana, Rosario Dawson and Nicollette Sheridan.

The duke and duchess arrived in California on Friday after a nine-day trip to Canada, their first foreign excursion since getting married in April. Within minutes of landing, the couple headed to their first event, a technology summit in Beverly Hills aimed at promoting U.S. investment in British tech firms.

After the polo game, the duke and duchess will head to downtown Los Angeles to attend a black-tie at the historic Belasco Theatre, where they will be guests of honor at a British Academy of Film and Television Arts dinner honoring 42 young British filmmakers.

The list of celebrities reportedly also attending reads like a who's who of Hollywood royalty: Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Quentin Tarantino and Judd Apatow.

William and Kate's arrival in California has been a lower-key affair compared to the largely rapturous welcomes they received as they crisscrossed Canada, though small crowds of royal watchers waving British and American flags congregated outside the British consul general's home in Hancock Park and elsewhere.

Friday's tech summit was set up to generate support for Tech City, London's answer to Silicon Valley. The area around the trendy Old Street part of east London is quickly becoming a hub for technology and software firms.

Britain's royal family has shown itself to be tech-savvy in recent years and maintains accounts on several social media sites.

On Sunday, the royal couple will watch a dance at a nonprofit academy in the gritty Skid Row area of downtown then attend a job fair for U.S. servicemen and women transitioning to civilian life.

"People just want a glimpse of the duke and duchess," said Los Angeles resident Christian Kang. "There's so much compassion in both of them. I know they're going to Skid Row, and I think that's very good to see from someone in his position."

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.

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Watkins reported from Los Angeles.

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Follow Thomas Watkins at https://www.twitter.com/thomaswatkins

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