Polo a winner for prince


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took in a sweep of Southern California on their state visit Saturday, helicoptering up the coast to Carpinteria for a charity polo match and capping off their evening surrounded by Hollywood celebrities on the red carpet in downtown Los Angeles.

The newlyweds took a break from their packed schedule to bring Californians a bit of British sport, participating in the polo match at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club.

William -- naturally -- played on the winning team, and the thrilled onlookers cheered wildly whenever he made a goal. He scored four times, and during an awards ceremony at which Catherine presented her husband with a 15-pound silver trophy, he thrilled the crowd by kissing her on both cheeks.


Being able to dine with the couple at a sit-down lunch with cocktails was expensive. VIP tickets cost $4,000. The afternoon affair was held in a tent on a classic Southern California day -- sunny with a dash of ocean breeze.

Long before the royal couple arrived, the club, located down the coast from Santa Barbara in Carpinteria, was already bustling with activity, with workers laying white linens on tables and bringing in vases of white peonies. By 11 a.m., celebrities -- including actors Billy Zane, Rosario Dawson and Molly Sims -- began to arrive on the red carpet.

Spectators who paid $400 a pop for a boxed lunch across the field from the fancier event sipped Champagne and intently watched the couple, who arrived around noon by helicopter.

William wore a navy blazer and white trousers. Catherine strolled the red carpet in a simple spring dress with a floral print. She was bare-headed, which disappointed many of those in the crowd who had dressed to the nines to come see her.

Following a style often seen at splashy British events, Diane Lytel, 32, had matched her purple dress with a custom-made fascinator -- a whimsical gold headpiece complete with a purple feather. Lytel and her husband, Kipley, who live in a condo overlooking the polo field, had purchased the box-lunch tickets.

“This is the biggest event we’ve ever had here, so we had to come down and feel the vibe,” she said.


So too with cousins Redonna Carpenter-Woods, 46, and Theresa Edward-Dymally, 48, who decided this was an event they couldn’t pass up and drove up from the north San Fernando Valley.

“It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” said Carpenter-Woods, who wore a white summer dress and a matching sun hat.

Carpenter-Woods, a bank vice president, and Edward-Dymally, a school psychologist, said they were at first a little put off by the price of the tickets. Then they decided to splurge.

“I had a garage sale and bought one,” Carpenter-Woods said jokingly.

So, why the fascination with the royal couple?

“They have just stepped into the limelight so beautifully,” said Denise Berry, 40, of Los Angeles, who has been going to the polo club to see her father, now 73, play since she was a girl.

“They are just so together, so elegant and so handsome,” Berry said.

Proceeds from the event benefited the American Friends of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, which focuses particularly on disadvantaged youths, the environment and the armed forces.

This is Catherine’s first visit to the United States, and William’s first on official business.


On Friday, the couple attended a technology conference at a Beverly Hills hotel and a private reception at the Hancock Park residence of the British consul general.

On Saturday night, they headed to an exclusive black-tie affair at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles, hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. William is president of the organization.

Hours before the couple was due to arrive downtown, spectators had lined up behind barricades to wait for them.

Carol Untalan, 47, who collects magazine articles and books about the couple, drove down from San Francisco with her 15-year-old daughter.

“It’s the love story I fell in love with, and that’s why I fell in love with them,” she said.

Catherine and William arrived a couple of minutes past 8 p.m. Exiting a black Range Rover to cheers from the crowd, the two walked leisurely down the red carpet, shaking hands and graciously smiling to a clutch of lucky admirers.


William wore a tuxedo, and Catherine wore a light gray chiffon dress with a glittery white band at the waist.

On Sunday, the couple’s last day in Los Angeles, they will attend an arts event on skid row and a job fair in Culver City.

Saillant reported from Carpinteria and Santa Cruz from Los Angeles. Kate Mather, Amy Kaufman and Samantha Schaefer contributed to this report from Los Angeles.