LOS ANGELES — More than a dozen years after Princess Diana's death on a Paris highway sparked an international backlash against the photographers who chased her, her son's visit to the paparazzi hotbed of Southern California has officials on high alert.
Prince William and bride Kate will arrive Friday in a state that in the years since Diana's death has passed three laws intended to curb paparazzi abuses. The most recent change, inspired in part by Jennifer Aniston's experiences, raises the penalties for aggressive driving by paparazzi from mere infractions to misdemeanors punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
The newlyweds are two of the world's hottest celebrities right now and law enforcement officials who have hoped for a situation to test the new laws think they may get one when the perfect storm of British and Los Angeles celebrity photographers jockey for shots of the royal couple.
"We want to make sure everybody has a safe trip," Los Angeles police Sgt. Mitzi Fierro said. She said that would extend to residents and the public, not just the heavily guarded royal couple.
Beginning Friday morning, police plan to close the street of the British consul-general's home in Hancock Park, where the couple will stay on their weekend visit. Officers have already obtained "No Trespass" letters from neighbors, which will be used to arrest anyone who enters the adjoining properties to try to get pictures or glimpses of the couple.
The no-trespassing letters give police the power to arrest paparazzi who try to snap pictures of the royal couple, even if the photographers are on private property.
According to Fierro, tabloids have offered compensation to Hancock Park neighbors, but no residents accepted any offers.
"If anybody is behaving inappropriately," Fierro said, "we're going to take whatever legal police action we can to enforce the laws."Video: Duke, duchess saddle up for ‘cow town’ tour (on this page)
That includes a trio of anti-paparazzi state laws that are ostensibly unused and have done little to thin the ranks of those who track celebrities' every move.
Photo agencies expect shots of the newlyweds in LA to sell for anywhere from $25 to $1,000. "Every move they make, everything she does, there will be 10,000 images," Bauer-Griffin photo agency co-owner Frank Griffin said of the upcoming trip.
"This will be a pretty good test of where we're at," said Mark Geragos, a celebrity attorney who has helped clients deal with aggressive shooters over the years.
For the LA equivalent of royalty — movie, television and increasingly, reality TV stars — daily paparazzi interactions fuel their stardom. Yet clashes sometimes occur between photographers and celebrities, such as Russell Brand and Mike Tyson, who were arrested after airport scuffles.
Many are surprised that seven months after the law against aggressive driving went into effect, no one has been charged.
Matt Schonbrun, a deputy Los Angeles city attorney, said he expected to see plenty of cases after the law was passed in January. But reports from celebrities of misconduct haven't come in, and a 911 call documenting a dangerous pursuit is necessary, he said.
Private security firms hired by celebrities even offered to put video cameras in their cars to capture what happens when they are pursued by paparazzi.
"These incidents are happening every day. It's really scary and coming to a critical mass," Schonbrun said. "We need a test case and we want the first ones to be egregious. Once that call is made we can get the ball rolling."
Before arriving in the U.S. Friday, the royal couple will conclude their nine-day tour through Canada. On Wednesday Prince William and Kate visited the northern Alberta town of Slave Lake, which was caught in a wildfire in May. The couple plans on Thursday to visit Foothills Hospital in Calgary.
Cashing in on royalty
Will and Kate will be fitting a lot into their California visit, including a red-carpet gala and a polo match, but accordingto the California Travel & Tourism Commission, their visit is too short.The Ventura County Star said the commission is hoping to use the royal couple's visit to drum up more tourist interest in the state with a new campaign: 'Three Days Isn't Enough.'
The tourism campaign includes 20 "California Royal-Tea" events to nudge tourists to "return and see everything that our great state has to offer," said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of the commission.
Los Angeles fashion brands could also stand to cash in from the royal visit. Business Insider says the Duchess of Cambridge might don clothing from California designers as a nod to her hosts.Slideshow: Duchess Kate’s royal style (on this page)
From a gala to Skid Row
In addition to high glamour events, the couple will also take time for charitable events, including a visit to Skid Row — one of Los Angeles's most notorious neighborhoods.
There they will visit Inner-City Arts, a nonprofit academy where local children can take free art classes.
"This is what's going on outside their castle. They're going to get a taste of what life is like for us," Jessica Cornejo, a 19-year-old member of a dance troupe that will be performing for the newlywed couple during their Sunday visit, told the Daily Breeze newspaper. "It's the best way to end that royal trip."
This article contains reporting from The Associated Press, msnbc.com staff and NBC News.