Bauer Griffin; Andy Kropa/AP
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December 08, 2014 06:00 PM

Actor Matthew Rhys hoped to remember his lines, but when he met Princess Kate at a special lunch in New York City on Monday, he became a little lost for words.

Rhys, who stars in The Americans, was one of nine British citizens who’ve made achievements in the cultural, fashion, business and tech worlds invited to meet Kate, 32, at an intimate lunch hosted by the British Consul General Danny Lopez and his wife, Susan, at their penthouse residence.

But he confessed, “My mind went blank and I wondered what I would talk to her about, but she’s very good at putting you at ease – she asked a lot of questions.”

“I asked her what she thought of the freezing weather here, and she said she was used to it,” Rhys told reporters of their chat.

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But Rhys wasn’t the only one impressed by the princess. Rebecca Lowe, who presents NBC’s coverage of Premier League soccer, told reporters she has “a bit of a girl-crush on the Duchess, I can’t stop looking at her hair.”

“She’s just wonderful, and everything I thought she would be,” Lowe continued. “She’s so engaged, but she’s just a normal human being. She said she had a lovely time in Harlem.”

Fellow guest Colin Callender, the Emmy and Tony award-winning producer behind TV hits including The Missing, The White Queen and the upcoming adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, spoke with Kate about his recent Broadway production of Macbeth, starring Kenneth Branagh.

“Did it go down well here?” she asked him. “Were there sell-out performances?”

Following a reception, they dined on a lunch of pressed vegetable terrine infused with herbs, poached salmon with dill hollandaise sauce and lemon pearl barley risotto and sautéed vegetables. For dessert, they enjoyed apple and rhubarb crumble with ice cream.

Later, Callender told reporters how his 13- and 11-year-old girls were jealous of his meeting with Kate.

“She’s an icon,” he said. “My daughters are over the moon. They wanted to come. They said, ‘Daddy, we’ll hide behind your suit jacket.’ I think she’s brought a kind of grace under pressure [to the royal family].”

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