Californians thrilled at royal visit

They could visit a movie set, grab a surfboard and shoot the curl at Malibu, sample a winery or two, even take in a baseball game at Dodger Stadium.

LOS ANGELES — They could visit a movie set, grab a surfboard and shoot the curl at Malibu, sample a winery or two, even take in a baseball game at Dodger Stadium.

And, if baseball didn’t seem too strange a sport to people raised on cricket and soccer, maybe Prince William and his new bride, the former Kate Middleton, could buy the team afterward. There is a rumour it might soon be up for sale.

The point is, there will be plenty to do when Britain’s new hot young royal couple arrives in California on July 8.

And, if the titters of excitement already emanating across the state are an indication, they will be welcomed with open arms by throngs of people.

Not that there won’t be a downside to that as well.

“Wherever they go, it’s going to be more traffic and more security and the locals aren’t going to be thrilled with that,” said Jeff Aberbach, a government employee who lives in the Sacramento area and was quick to post the announcement of the royal visit on his Facebook page Thursday.

“But it will give people something to look at. It’s a nice way to break the summer doldrums, having a future king and queen of England visit us.”

If the prince and his bride, aka the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have decided where they want to go during their three-day stay, they haven’t told the British consulate in Los Angeles, said Katharine Keith, a consulate spokeswoman. It will be Kate’s first visit to the United States and William’s first official visit.

Although sometimes dismissed as dour and dowdy, William’s father, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, were a big hit when they visited the San Francisco Bay area in 2005, mingling with the common folk as they sampled produce at farmers markets.

William’s mother, Princess Diana, created a huge stir when she visited in the 1980s, charming people everywhere she went.

Royal visits, of course, also create traffic jams, and California Highway Patrol spokeswoman Fran Clader said her agency could be called on to try to help keep the roads clear.

But for security reasons she wouldn’t say whether the agency has been asked yet.

As they plan their trip, William and Kate might get some tips from the prince’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. She stopped in San Diego, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, San Francisco and elsewhere in 1983. During an earlier visit she even watched movies being made at Universal Studios.

To help the royal couple plan, the Los Angeles Times asked readers Thursday to offer their suggestions. Several whimsically replied that a stop at Dodger Stadium was in order, adding they hoped the couple might like the sport so much they’d buy the distressed franchise.

If William and Kate are superstitious, however, they might want to stay away from San Diego’s Hotel del Coronado. King Edward VIII stayed at the tony beachfront resort in 1920 and, as anyone who saw the film “The King’s Speech” knows, threw the British monarchy into turmoil a few years later when he abdicated the throne to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson.

“Many have speculated that they may have first met at the Del,” the hotel says on its website.

Likewise, William might pass on the ongoing exhibition of graffiti art at Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art lest he get the wrong idea. During a 1984 visit, his uncle, Prince Andrew, playfully picked up a spray-paint gun at a construction site and blasted reporters and photographers with it, creating a minor international incident.

But no matter, there are plenty of other places to go.

Ye Olde King’s Head in Santa Monica, where the royal couple’s friend David Beckham stops by for lunch, would pull out all the stops, said Peter Dolan, the Liverpool native who runs the place.

“We’d have our staff dressed up as royal guards, we’d have a couple doormen outside in full regalia,” he said.

“And our girls would all love to wait on Prince William,” he added with a laugh. “They quite fancy him.”


Associated Press writer Don Thompson contributed to this story.

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