Over the course of his more than forty years as a Hollywood star, Tom Cruise has managed to break in and out of some of the world’s most impenetrable institutions: hideouts for dastardly villains, high-security bank vaults, three marriages with varying degrees of success. and credibility.
But when it came to worming his way into the heart of the British royal family, a feat that hundreds of celebrities have attempted but only a few have achieved, Cruise made it look all too easy.
“Nice to see you here, Tom Cruise!” wrote the X/Twitter account on behalf of the Prince and Princess of Wales last night, with a photo of the Prince and Cruise, in matching evening wear, at a London Air Ambulance fundraiser in London.
Looking forward to it indeed. It was William’s first public appearance since his wife and father’s illness (he took time to thank people for their well wishes). So he probably could have done flying solo with some support for the evening.
Someone who can provide a touch of glamor without Kate there to light up the room, perhaps. A micro dose of charisma to revive the discussion about rotor blades and response times. A brotherly friend as Prince Harry builds up his wealth of Avios points. Well, no one does ‘a little support’ like the world’s leading ambassador for platform shoes.
It feels fair to say that Cruise, at 61, is now easily the royal family’s favorite divorced American actor of all time. And the feeling is mutual, if Cruise’s commitment to attending various royal events is anything to go by – not least his appearance as host at the Queen’s belated Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022.
His relationship with William and Kate is certainly established: they attended the British premiere two years ago Top Gun: Maverickwhere Cruise escorted the princess up a few steps, and William wore velvet Crockett & Jones shoes embroidered with two F18s, the planes depicted in the film.
That evening, the couple revealed that they had been playing the film’s soundtrack at home with their children. The special velvet shoes (the movie equivalent of wearing a Gryffindor scarf on the Warner Bros Studio Tour) also got attention last night. The prince pointed to his feet and said to his friend, ‘I don’t have mine Top pistol slippers on tonight!”
But Cruise was wearing his Tom Cruise suit: megawatt smile, charm that could run a country, action-packed anecdotes, inveterate Anglophilia. The royal family has found it irresistible for decades, starting with the Prince of Wales’s mother, Princess Diana. Cruise met Diana at least in 1992, when he and his then-wife Nicole Kidman greeted her at the London premiere of Far away.
Diana was said to be enthusiastic. According to a biography, she told a friend that Cruise was “extremely imaginative.” Later, after her tragic death in 1997, he infamously called CNN live, condemning the media’s actions. It doesn’t even appear on the Top 100 Weirdest Things Cruise has done during his time as an A-lister, but it was still bizarre. Days later, he was among a select group of Hollywood talent, including Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, to attend Diana’s funeral at Westminster Abbey.
Cruise has always been a fan of Britain, whether it’s buying a house with Kidman in Dulwich Village; making national news when he goes for a curry; is said to have lived at Saint Hill, Scientology’s UK headquarters in East Grinstead, during the lockdown; or base production on its infinite Mission Impossible series in Great Britain.
While he spent much of the 1990s in the United States, jumping on the banks and further entrenching himself in Scientology, he maintained close contacts with Britain. He has a house in Biggin Hill – handy for a frequent flyer, but also for traveling to Croydon, where Isabella, 31, the artist daughter he adopted with Nicole Kidman, is said to have lived in recent years.
Diana’s showbiz friends were not automatically given access to Buckingham Palace, but Cruise succeeded. In 2017, he met Prince Philip at a charity dinner at the palace to mark the 75th anniversary of the Outward Bound Trust. Cruise, a car enthusiast who can fly anything, got along well with Philip.
“There was of course a moment when we were talking about pilots, we had to talk about helicopters, and he told me the wonderful story of how he got the first helicopter into Buckingham Palace during [The Queen’s] coronation,” Cruise later recalled.
He would continue to appear at various royal events, from English football matches to Wimbledon, but his appointment as guest presenter during the platinum jubilee still came as a surprise. He was one of four hosts of “A Gallop Through History” – an equestrian event at Windsor Castle. Another was Alan Titchmarsh, who, it was agreed, is very much the thinking Tom Cruise of British women.
“[The Queen] is simply a woman I admire immensely. I think she is someone with enormous dignity and I admire her dedication. What she has achieved is historic. I remember always seeing pictures of her as a kid,” Cruise said, explaining his look, which really needed explaining.
They did not meet that evening, but she invited him for tea another day in 2022, which reportedly allowed him to land his helicopter in the grounds of Windsor Castle and fire a ceremonial rifle. Sources told a newspaper that they “really hit it off” – so much so that she invited him to lunch. Unfortunately for everyone involved, she died before that date.
Not that it stopped Cruise’s slow-burn mission to become an honorary member of the royal family. Nothing would. His latest show of courageous support for William shows that both parties are as enthusiastic about each other as ever. “I should take this opportunity to thank my – our – fellow pilot Tom Cruise,” Prince William said in his speech last night. Cruise beamed. He’s dangerous, but he can be his wingman at any time. and so forth.
Realistically, this ends in six ways: with an honorary knighthood for Cruise; a cameo in the next Mission Impossible for William; an advertisement for that film that can be shown anywhere at Buckingham Palace for a year; Cruise calls LBC to complain that he found Meghan Markle’s Archetypes podcast “hopelessly distracted”; the king fiddling with the paperwork to ensure Cruise is bequeathed Rutland; or all of the above.
With this man nothing is impossible. Fancy seeing you here, Tom Cruise? It would be even more surprising if he wasn’t.