LOS ANGELES — The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, fresh off a nine-day trip to Canada, arrived in Los Angeles on Friday to begin a whirlwind weekend tour.
Their arrival was a lower-key affair compared to the largely rapturous welcomes they received as they crisscrossed Canada. The royal couple had departed Calgary earlier Friday, having endeared themselves to Canadian crowds with a skillful mix of royal pomp and playful informality on their first official trip abroad since marrying.
Aside from a game of polo in the seaside city of Santa Barbara, much of the couple's three-day California visit will focus on business and not pleasure. Instead of trips to the famous Hollywood sign or Malibu's beaches, their itinerary includes some hefty fundraising for good causes, promoting U.S. investment in Britain and charitable work.
The newlyweds landed shortly before 4 p.m. local time (2300 GMT) in a Canadian military jet. The former Kate Middleton, who left Canada in a red satin and wool scarlet coat-dress by Catherine Walker, changed aboard the flight and emerged wearing a light-gray, knee-length dress with asymmetric draping at the shoulder. William wore a navy blue suit with a purple tie.
A small group of officials including California Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife Anne Gust, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Britain's ambassador the U.S., Sir Nigel Sheinwald, greeted the couple at the airport.
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.
Authorities have put the paparazzi, known for their cutthroat tactics, on notice that aggressive actions will not be tolerated. Photographers were partly blamed for causing the Paris crash that killed Princess Diana in 1997.
The royal couple climbed into a black Range Rover and headed for their first event, a technology summit in Beverly Hills aimed at promoting U.S. investment in British tech firms.
Zoomed along by a California Highway Patrol motorcade, the duke and duchess avoided rush-hour traffic to the Beverly Hills summit by staying off the ever-clogged West Los Angeles freeways.
The 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.
A small crowd of royal watchers gathered outside the hotel as the couple arrived but the duke and duchess did not stop to speak with them. Attendees stood and clapped as they entered the ballroom and sat on stage alongside other panelists.
Neither spoke during the discussion, though Kate smiled when the panelists mentioned that attendees were welcome to visit Tech City. At the end of the panel, the moderator asked if anyone wanted to talk. Kate nudged William, who shrugged off the opportunity.
Neil Stiles, president of Variety, which sponsored the event, accompanied the couple for brief demonstrations of technology on display at the expo, including the new tablet computer from HP and augmented reality applications from Qualcomm.
"They were delightful company," Stiles said. "They were relaxed, very comfortable in the environment. It was a lot to take in. They arrived at a conference that's been running all day on a very heavy business subject, and I thought they coped with it really well."