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Prince William and Kate attend BAFTA gala

Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrive at the BAFTA Brits to Watch gala held at the Belasco Theatre on July 9, 2011, in Los Angeles. Getty

(CBS/AP) Updated 12:13 a.m. EDT

After spending the afternoon at a charity polo match, Prince William and Kate walked the red carpet alongside Hollywood royalty at a black-tie gala in Los Angeles.

The soiree at the Belasco Theatre in downtown Los Angeles was organized by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, of which William is president, to promote up-and-coming British talent in the industry.

William's wife, the former Kate Middleton, wore a flowing lilac dress with white waistband by Alexander McQueen. Fans cheered as they strode a red carpet and the couple responded by walking over and shaking a few hands.

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Hollywood stars also in attendance include Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Kristin Chenoweth, Jason Bateman, Blake Lively, Mary Louise Parker and Jennifer Lopez.

"I'd like to thank Colin Firth for my opening line: I have a voice," William quipped in brief remarks to the star-studded audience, referring to Firth's role as King George VI in the acclaimed film "The King's Speech."

The Duke of Cambridge also urged Hollywood to embrace the new wave of British talent.

"Please give them the opportunities you have always extended to some of the brightest and best that Britain has to offer," he said. "When American and British creative talent gets together, magic happens."

The Los Angeles Times reports that William and Kate will meet with the evening's 42 honorees briefly in a private reception during the gala.

Then, the honorees will get to mingle with Hollywood insiders. According to E! Online, examples of their work will be shown throughout the night and handed out to every attendee.

William and Kate are on the second day of their three-day visit to Southern California. On Sunday, they 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.