During his 40-odd years as a Hollywood star, Tom Cruise has managed to break in and out of some of the world’s most inescapable institutions: bachelorette tops, high-security bank vaults, through marriages of varying success. and credibility.
But when it came to exploring his way into the heart of the British Royal family, something hundreds of celebrities have attempted but only a few have achieved, Cruise made it look too easy.
“Would you like to see you here, Tom Cruise!” wrote the X/Twitter account run on behalf of the Prince and Princess of Wales last night, with a photo of the Prince and Princess, in matching ties, at the London Air Ambulance fundraiser in London.
Fancy it indeed. This was William’s first public engagement since the illnesses of his wife and father (he took time to thank people for their wishes). Flying alone, then, he probably did with a little support for the evening.
Someone to amp up the glamor without Kate there to light up the room, perhaps. A micro dose of charisma to liven up many conversations about rotor blades and response times. Dear brother, and Prince Harry taking his share of Avios points. Well, no one gives “a little support” like the world’s highest-profile ambassador for platform shoes.
It feels reasonable to say that at 61, Tom Cruise is the Royal Family’s favorite divorced American actor of all time. And the feeling is mutual, given Cruise’s commitment to attending various royal events – most notably his hosting gig during the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022.
Their relationship with William and Kate is definitely established: two years ago, they attended the British premiere Top Gun: Maverickwhere Cruise escorted the Princess up several steps, and William wore velvet shoes by Crockett & Jones, embroidered with two F18s, the planes featured in the film.
That night, the couple revealed that they were playing the film’s soundtrack at home with their children. Meanwhile, the special velvet shoes (the equivalent of wearing a Gryffindor scarf with the Warner Bros Studio Tour) were also mentioned last night. Pointing to his feet, the Prince said to his friend: “I don’t have mine Gun Top slippers on tonight!”
But Cruise had his Tom Cruise costume: megawatt smile, charm you could take a country out of, action-packed stories, unbelievable Anglophilia. It has been irresistible to the Royal family for decades, starting with the Prince of Wales’ mother, Princess Diana. Cruise met Diana at least in 1992, when he and his wife Nicole Kidman greeted her at the London premiere Far and away.
Diana was said to be keen. According to one biography, she told a friend of Cruise that he was “extremely fanciable”. Later, after her tragic death in 1997, he infamously called CNN live on air, criticizing the actions of the media. It doesn’t even register in the top 100 things Cruise did in his time as an A-lister, but it was still weird. 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 had British fans, be it buying a house with Kidman in Dulwich Village; making the national news whenever he goes on a curry; allegedly lived at Saint Hill, British Scientology headquarters in East Grinstead during lockdown; or to establish endless production Mission Impossible series in the UK.
Although he spent much of the Noughties in the United States, jumping on sofas and delving further into Scientology, he had close contact with the UK. He has a house in Biggin Hill – convenient for regular flights but also for getting to Croydon, where Isabella, 31, the artist daughter he adopted with Nicole Kidman, has allegedly been living in recent years.
Diana’s showbiz friends weren’t automatically allowed into Buckingham Palace, but Cruise was. 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 petrol head who can fly anything, succeeded with Philip.
“There was a moment, of course, we were talking about pilots, we had to talk about helicopters, and he was telling me the amazing story about how he got the first helicopter into Buckingham Palace during the year. [The Queen’s] coronation,” Cruise later recalled.
He would continue to appear at various nearby royal events, from England football matches to Wimbledon, but his appointment as a guest presenter during the Platinum Jubilee was still a surprise. He was one of four hosts at “A Gallop Through History” – an equestrian event held at Windsor Castle. Alan Titchmarsh was another who was widely agreed to be the Tom Cruise of British women.
“[The Queen] she’s just a woman I really admire. I think she is a person of great dignity and I appreciate her enthusiasm. What she has achieved is historic. I always remember as a child seeing photos of her,” said Cruise, explaining his appearance, which was very necessary to explain.
They didn’t meet that evening, but she took him over for tea another day in 2022, allowing him to land his helicopter on the grounds of Windsor Castle and fire a ceremonial cannon. Sources told the tabloids they were “really smitten” – so much so that she invited him back for lunch. Unfortunately for all, she died before that date.
Not that it ended Cruise’s slow mission to become an honorary member of the Royal family. Nothing. His latest show of widespread support for William shows that both sides are as committed to each other as ever. “I should take this opportunity to thank my co-pilot Tom Cruise,” Prince William said in his speech last night. Cruise beamed. He is dangerous, but he can be a wingman anytime, et cetera.
Realistically, this ends one of six ways: with an honorary knighthood for Cruise; cameo in the next one Mission Impossible for William; an advertisement for that film being allowed to be projected around Buckingham Palace for a year; Cruise calling LBC to complain he found Meghan Markle Archetypes a “hopelessly derivative” podcast; the King fiddling with the paper to ensure that Cruise is committed to Rutland; or all of the above.
With this man, nothing is impossible. Want to see you here, Tom Cruise? It would be more surprising if it wasn’t.