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Prince William, Duchess Catherine, Kate Middleton

Phil Noble / Reuters

Will & Kate Take California blog tile

They smiled. They nodded.

And with that, with just that, Prince William and Kate Middleton sucked the air out of an open-air field.

Joe Jonas likely will never try to follow that act again.

And it's unlikely he'll ever have to.

The red carpet today at the Foundation Polo Challenge in Santa Barbara was not an everyday red carpet. Avatar's Zoe Saldana literally thought the shade was different.

"This red feels extra rich," she told us.

Saldana, Rob Lowe, Rosario Dawson, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Molly Sims were among the stars who dared to have their own stars eclipsed by the royals, embarking on day two of their three-day California visit. To a bold-faced name, they said they did it to support William's charity, if not William himself, as well as his new bride.

Said Lowe: "They're great ambassadors."

Not to mention masters at arrivals.

Just before noon, the red-carpet seas were parted, and Hewitt, clad in royal blue, was hurried along. Minutes later, a helicopter descended. 

William and Kate, reporters were told, would walk, but not stop to talk, on the red carpet.

And so they did.

The prince and his wife, both casually elegant, a look that everyone seemed to be going for, but only they (and maybe Lowe, who seems as if he's been attending royal polo matches all his life) pulled off, kept a brisk pace.

They looked straight ahead, occasionally turning to meet eyes and TV cameras. They said pleased to meet you without saying pleased to meet you. 

The carpet seemed to fall silent. A shouted question about how they were liking California elicited some niceties from the deep-voiced William. ("Very good. Thank you. Very much.")

And then they were gone.

It was all very fast, and very unremarkable, except for how the two of them commanded attention just by being purposely (or naturally?) natural.

Not long after William and Kate's walk-by, the Hollywood arrivals resumed.

But just as Jonas was about to do the rounds, event security cleared the carpet, and, in their way, reminded him that a Jonas Brother does not trump a royal's schedule. The pop star ended up doing a quick photo-op on the nearby grass.

It was a fitting end, in a way. The red carpet didn't really belong to the stars today.

Not the Hollywood ones, anyway.