Monday, July 11, 2011

So long: Prince William and Kate given a star-spangled send off as they fly home with hundreds of fellow Brits on commercial BA flight

-The couple wrap up their action-packed trip to North America with a visit to two charity projects
-At final engagement William thanks 'City of Angels' for welcoming couple so warmly

By Rebecca English and Richard Hartley-parkinson

Final smiles: The Duke and Duchess look back before boarding their flight after what has been a hugely successful first official foreign tour

After their glamorous trip to California, feted by A-list celebrities, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined the hoi polloi on an ordinary commercial flight home to the UK .

They were greeted by British Airways staff on a sun-drenched runway at Los Angeles airport - a marked contrast to their blustery arrival at Ottawa airport last week.

Arriving at LAX in a Range Rover, they said their goodbyes after their hugely successful tour of Canada and California, their first official royal trip.

The tour has, apart from a couple of minor demonstrations, been heralded a huge success not just for William and Kate but for the British Royal Family.

Prince William puts a reassuring hand on his wife's back to usher her into the British Airways plane back to the UK after their trip to Canada and America

William and Kate arrived at a sunny LAX in a Range Rover before saying a few final goodbyes to well wishers on the tarmac ahead of their flight back to the UK

Some of the BA staff who will look after the royal couple on board line up to greet them. Kate and Williams sunny departure was in stark contrast to their blustery arrival in Ottawa

The Duke and Duchess climb the staircase to their BA flight, led by two BA cabin crew, before turning to have one last look at California before their flight home

The couple were escorted to Los Angeles airport by a police motorcade with several motorbikes closing roads and police cars ensuring safe passage

William and Kate snubbed a private jet in favour of travelling on the commercial flight with their entourage and security, taking first class seats on the jumbo.

They had travelled through an area with one of the biggest populations of homeless people in the U.S. on their way to LAX.

Their last engagement was at a jobs fair at Sony Studios on behalf of Service Nation: Mission Serve - a programme honouring members of the armed services, at which William thanked Los Angeles for welcoming him and his new wife.

He said: 'As this is my last opportunity before we leave this afternoon, I would just say, on behalf of us both, how grateful we are to have been welcomed so warmly in the Golden State and the City of Angels. Thank you so much.'

They have enjoyed an action-packed tour that has seen them take part in casual events, where their ease as a couple and love for one another was on frequent display, to the more formal, allowing William to show his statesman qualities.

That's my boy! Prince William gives a speech at the job fair, and it seems to go down well with his wife Kate who applauds

Impressed: William warms up for his speech at the Service Nation: Mission Serve event which helps get ex-servicemen into employment; he spoke of how he and Kate both had friends in the UK who could benefit from such a scheme

All smiles: The final leg of the royal visit saw William and Kate attend a job fair designed to get ex-servicemen back into work

Among the highlights in Canada were a dragon boat race and a game of street hockey while the Duke was able to show off his piloting skills, landing a Sea King helicopter on water for the first time.

At their final event in the U.S., for Service Nation: Mission Serve, the royal couple arrived in a motorcade with an escort of 17 officers from the Californian Highway Patrol - affectionately known as Chips - who had British flags fixed to the back of their large bikes.

Service Nation: Mission Serve is an umbrella organisation set up by the U.S.
government which brings together different service charities to support the re-integration of servicemen and women into civilian life.

Proud moment: William, who is a service officer, spoke highly of the workshop and hopes it can inspire veterans in their careers

Helping hand: William and his wife Kate help prepare care packages for military children

William and Kate were greeted by Sir Howard Stringer, chairman and chief executive of Sony Corporation, and then led inside a building for a 25 minute-long private meeting with the senior staff from the programme.

In Sound Stage 15, a huge 42,000 square foot open-plan building, dozens of business recruitment stands for the former U.S. servicemen and women were set up.

Sets from iconic movies were built in the huge area, ranging from the yellow brick road from the Wizard of Oz to elements of the latest Spiderman movie. Sir Paul McCartney has used it as a rehearsal space.

The royal couple were cheered by the ex-servicemen and women and their partners who were attending the fair when they arrived, and the couple did a short walkabout.

Worthy cause: William boxes USO care packages in a scheme he hopes can be adopted, and acted upon, in Britain while Kate looks on, her usual radiant self

Packed out: William made the audience laugh when he joked that his brother, Harry, was a 'low-flying Apache very average brother'

On stage, with an enormous 60ft American flag in the background, the Duke said: 'This is the last event on our tour of North America, but to my mind, it is one of the most important.

'This is because it is about men and women who - of their own free will - choose to put their life on the line for their country.'

He added: "Service Nation: Mission Serve, and all the companies and employers taking part today, are providing opportunities which mean something very immediate and personal to us.

'Catherine and I both have friends back in Britain who could benefit from a brilliant initiative like this.'

William made the audience laugh by taking a swipe at his brother Prince Harry: 'I am delighted, therefore, that our Foundation – and in that I include my low-flying Apache very average brother – is a partner in today’s event.'

Before heading to the airport they stopped at the charity, the Tusk Trust, where they met author Kristin Gore, actress Reece Witherspoon and heiress Jessica de Rothschild

William gets a good reaction from one of his jokes as he and Kate meet Charlie Mayhew, chief executive of the Tusk Trust, and director Meredith Ogilvie-Thompson

Kate chats to donors to the Tusk Trust, Ernie and Diane Burgess. Prince William is the royal patron for the charity which used their visit to launch the Trust's U.S. Patron Circle

William went on to tell the audience 'how grateful we are to have been welcomed so warmly in the Golden State and the City of Angels. Thank you so much'.

The couple then filled boxes given to youngsters whose parents have been deployed to Afghanistan.

William and Kate were first shown a teddy bear called Cuzzie who was dressed in a scarf, goggles, jacket that was one of the main items.

The royal couple stood next to each other and filled the package with a journal for the children to jot down their feelings,

dogtags, so they can be just like mum or dad, a DVD that takes them through the issues around deployment, and postcards to send to the frontline.

When William picked up the popular American toy - Uno playing card - he said: 'I haven't seen these in ages, I used to play this a lot,' then put it in the box.
The couple then left for their BA flight back to the UK.

The Duke and Duchess took part in an impromptu walkabout outside their residence in LA to the delight of fans who posed for pictures with Kate

Kate speaks to the parent of a girl who appears a little bashful at meeting the Duchess

The crowds weren't as big in the U.S. as they were in Canada, but there were sufficient people to make the couple feel welcome

Full steam ahead: Kate cracks on with a drawing at the Inner-City Arts centre, but William was a little slower off the mark, looking as though he was asking for advice

Coming along nicely: Kate overseas the tortoise operation whilst in the background William seems mesmerised by the shell

Glamour: The couple looked spectacular as they joined Hollywood royalty for a red carpet event while, left, Kate and Nicole Kidman dazzle in their floor-length gowns

Nicole Kidman appears starstruck, smiling as she listens intently to Prince William... but then she breaks into a laugh as the prince pulls a face

Big moment: Kate talks to Tom Hanks and his wife Rita, left, while Jennifer Lopez puts a hand on William and listens intently while the Duchess laughs in the background

Letzter USA-Tag für William und Kate


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