07/12/2011 at 03:00 PM EDT
Yes, they are the future king and queen of England
, but the Duke
and Duchess of Cambridge
are also newlyweds – a fact that was on full view during the 11-day royal tour
that took them from Canada
to Los Angeles
"They seem very close, very connected," Steve Tisch, who hosted a benefit for the Duke's TUSK wildlife charity
in L.A. on July 10, tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story. "It was beautiful."
Also on display during the couple's trip: their determination to chart a new, contemporary course – no curtsies, please! – for the royal family. From PDA to playful ribbing, "they were warm and nurturing," says Cynthia Harnisch, president and CEO of Inner-City Arts, where the Duke and Duchess, both 29, visited on July 10.
Despite the couple's warmth
, they still managed to intimidate a room full of Hollywood's heaviest hitters – including Nicole Kidman
and Jennifer Lopez
– at a BAFTA gala
for the British film industry on July 9.
Says Owain Yeoman, who stars on the CBS drama The Mentalist
and was among the "Brits to Watch" honored at the event: "It was the first time I've seen major stars becoming like little school kids, going, 'Um, when would it be a good time to say hello?' "
For much more on the royal couple's triumphant tour, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday