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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit a deprived neighbourhood in Los Angeles

10th July 2011

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge showed their artistic sides when they joined children from one of Los Angeles' most deprived neighbourhoods.

The second-in-line to the throne and his wife made a trip to a socially-deprived district - officially known as Central City East.

The royal couple went to Inner-City Arts, a not-for-profit organisation that since being founded in 1989 has seen 150,000 vulnerable youngsters walk through its doors to escape day-to-day hardships and learn performance and visual art skills.

The Duke is President of Bafta - British Academy of Film and Television Arts - and the night before, Bafta hosted an evening to highlight the range and depth of British talent in film, television and video games.

Some of the biggest names working in Los Angeles from Tom Hanks and Barbra Streisand to Jennifer Lopez, Jack Black and James Gandolfini were received by the world's most famous newlyweds.

Forty-two emerging Brits were selected to attend the event to introduce them to the "movers and shakers" in Hollywood.

The Duke and Duchess tried painting and also left their hand marks in clay when they joined the children in an arts class.

Just like the stars who leave their marks outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, The Duke and Duchess gamely put their hands in blocks of clay and then signed them instead of writing in a visitor's book.

The tiles will be glazed by students, fired in their kilns and then installed in one of the campus walls.

The Duchess's first effort barely left an imprint, prompting her husband to tease her: "Come on, come on. Do it properly" before showing her his. "Now that's an imprint."

As they made their second mark, The Duke looked over to his wife and rolled his eyes. "Come on, do it again a little harder," he joked.

Finally, the couple did a joint imprint, putting their hands over each other to push down.

As they did so the pair started play fighting, trying to push each other out of the way.

During the visit the couple enjoyed some competitive banter when they took part in a painting class.

The couple joined 20 primary schoolchildren at easels in the Visual Arts Studio.

The Duke and Duchess sat back to back and chatted to the children next to them as they painted a "mandala", an ancient type of drawing where you start in the centre.

"Look at all the colours, it's amazing", The Duchess said to one boy.

The Duchess turned to her husband and said: "William, no pressure" as she took up her paintbrush.

The Duchess started drawing what looked like a red dart board but eventually evolved into a snail while The Duke drew a small blue square.

"William's painting with his favourite colour," The Duchess said to one child.

The Duchess kept laughing and looking up at royal aides as she did her artwork.

At one point The Duke turned around to look at his wife's work and said: "What the hell's that? It's a half slug, half bullseye."

Inner-City Arts delivers instruction in dance, drama, music, ceramics, visual and media arts to more than 10,000 children and young people every year.

The organisation's interests complement those of British homeless charity Centrepoint, of which The Duke is Patron.

Their Royal Highnesses last event saw them attend a jobs fair at Sony Pictures Studio staged by Service Nation: Mission Serve.

The body is an umbrella organisation set up by the US government which brings together different service charities to support the re-integration of servicemen and women into civvy street.

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.

They 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 Service Nation: Mission Serve.

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

Sets from iconic movies were built in the huge area, from the yellow brick road from the Wizard Of Oz to elements of the latest Spiderman movie, and 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 greeted well-wishers.

On stage with an enormous 60ft American flag in the background The Duke gave a speech.

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."

The Duke made the audience laugh by taking a swipe at 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."

His Royal Highness 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.

The Duke and Duchess were first shown a teddy bear called Cuzzie who was dressed in a scarf, goggles, jacket, which was one of the main items.

Their Royal Highnesses 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 The Duke picked up the popular American toy - Uno playing cards - 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 to catch their scheduled British Airways flight back to the UK.