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Jessica Cornejo, one of 16 teen dancers who performed for the duke and duchess, said she was thrilled when William gave a double thumbs-up and lauded them with “brilliant” at the end of their performance.

Others said the couple’s easy manner made any nerves go out the window.

“They were like your oldest friends and family,” said Bob Bates, co-founder of Inner-City Arts. “The kids really took them to heart.”

Sunday’s agenda also included a swanky private breakfast with patrons of Tusk Trust, an African wildlife conservation group, and a final stop with the group ServiceNation: Mission Serve, which helps veterans find jobs.

Inside the event in Culver City, giant U.S. and British flags hung behind a stage where the smiling duke addressed a cheering crowd.

“All the companies and employers taking part today are providing opportunities which mean something very immediate and personal to us,” said William, who is a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter pilot. “Catherine and I both have friends back in Britain who could benefit from a brilliant initiative like this.”

Kelly York, a 23-year Air Force veteran, said she was touched that the prince cared.

“I’m sure that they had 50 million places they could go and see,” York said. “The fact that they even take five minutes to stop here and say something to the veterans, that’s huge.”

The duke and duchess also met for about 15 minutes with the Fraijo family, which includes three generations of Marine Corps veterans. Steve Fraijo said William seemed committed to veterans issues.

“He knows what war is about,” said Fraijo, 48.

After speaking with veterans, the couple packed teddy bears in boxes to be sent to children of deployed service members. Their flight to London departed from Los Angeles International Airport shortly after 4 p.m.


Associated Press writer Thomas Watkins contributed to this report.


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