When Prince William returned to royal duties after several weeks out of the spotlight on Wednesday night, he was joined by a very famous face.
The Prince of Wales, 41, attended a London Air Ambulance charity gala on his first day back at work and, to the delight of royal fans, teamed up with Hollywood actor Tom Cruise to attend the event at the Old War Office.
The couple, both looking dapper in tuxedos, smiled as they stood side by side in a snap posted to the Prince and Princess of Wales’s X/Twitter account, with the caption: “So good to see you here!”
But for the most attentive royal watchers, Cruise’s appearance at a royal event may not come as much of a surprise; In fact, the 61-year-old Hollywood legend has attended several events with royalty over the years and has had starring roles in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, as well as the Coronation Concert.
He has managed to rub shoulders with the Prince and Princess of Wales, Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana, and has even said that King Charles could be his ‘mate’.
Tom Cruise’s cozy appearance with Prince William at the London Air Ambulance gala on Wednesday isn’t his first royal connection
Appearing at the London Air Ambulance event in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, the famous Scientologist twinned with black-tie Prince William, and the royal even gave a nod to Cruise, who has donated millions to the charity, in his speech.
‘Here in London, the current planes have performed magnificently. But our capital needs a new fleet.
‘And we are against time. The clue really is in the name of the Appeal. By September, we need two new redbirds, equipped with the latest equipment, like night vision, in our skies.
“I must also take this opportunity to mention my fellow pilot, Tom Cruise. Tom, thank you very much for supporting us tonight.
The 61-year-old movie star held the Princess of Wales’s hand as he led her up the stairs at the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick.
‘And if you wouldn’t mind not borrowing any of the new helicopters for the next Mission: Impossible, we’d appreciate it.
“We’ve all seen on our screens that, how can I put it, you seem to have a different view of ‘normal wear’ than the rest of us.
“He’s not the type to get better, that’s for sure.”
Cruise has continued to bond with members of the royal family over his love of flying over the years, including Her Late Majesty The Queen.
In the late monarch’s final weeks at Windsor Castle before traveling to Balmoral, where she died, she invited Cruise to tea at the royal residence.
She was said to be disappointed not to have met the star during her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, which took place earlier that summer.
Despite not seeing the Queen during the week of celebrations, Cruise appeared in a Jubilee segment and said of her: “She’s a woman I admire a lot.” She has tremendous dignity and I admire her devotion. What she has achieved has been historic.”
Insiders said the couple “really hit it off” during their meeting and the late Queen “loved seeing him”, even allowing him to land her helicopter on the Castle lawn.
They even invited Cruise to lunch, but sadly the Queen passed away before he could return.
The Hollywood star, who had been filming her latest film Mission: Impossible in the UK, said: “She’s just a woman I admire a lot.” I think she is someone who has tremendous dignity and I admire her devotion.
‘What he has achieved has been historic. I just remember that when I was a child I always saw pictures of her.
A source told The Times: ‘The Queen made it known that she was really disappointed not to have met Tom at the pageant.
‘So they invited him on a special tour of Windsor Castle with everything prepared for him. Afterwards, just the two of them had tea together.
“She loved seeing him and they really hit it off, so much so that she invited him to lunch.”
Cruise met Princess Dian several times during the 1990s, including at the 1992 charity premiere of Far and Away.
Despite missing the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June, Cruise flew to London at the end of the month for his Top Gun: Maverick premiere and invited two very special royal guests.
The star was accompanied by the Prince and Princess of Wales on the red carpet and during the appearance, the Hollywood star noted that she has “a lot in common” with royalty.
Speaking of the royal couple, he praised “what they do for their country.”
He continued: ‘We have a lot in common. “We love England, we are both aviators, so it will be a really wonderful evening.”
During the red carpet appearance, the actor even extended his hand to Kate in a gentlemanly gesture as they walked up the stairs to the stage.
At the time, a public relations expert speculated that Cruise’s decision to invite royalty to his premiere, which was also a charity event, could have been part of a little-known industry trick known as a “brand halo.” in which people in the public eye associate themselves with something positive in the hope that the shine will rub off on their own image.
“We see people hanging out with celebrities, wanting to be photographed at high-profile events and seemingly ‘endorsed’ by well-liked entities online,” Lida Citroen said.
The late Queen is said to have been disappointed at not being able to meet Cruise during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and invited him to tea at Windsor Castle shortly before she died.
“It is possible that this is the strategy behind Cruise’s promotion of his new film to an institution as popular and renowned as the Royal Family.”
Although detractors may dismiss Cruise’s association with royalty as a public relations stunt, his connection to the family goes back a long way, and he was even friends with Princess Diana.
In 1992, when he was married to Nicole Kidman, Cruise invited Diana to another London premiere of Far and Away.
However, it has been reported that Diana may not have been as enamored of the actor as he was of the royal family.
Former royal chef Darren McGrady once recalled how Princess Diana said Cruise was “off the list” in terms of dating options because he was “too short.”
The royals had reunited with Cruise on the set of Mission: Impossible and brought along Prince Harry and Prince William.
Despite the occasional ‘snub’, Cruise’s love for royalty has endured, and he even made a cameo at the King’s Coronation Concert.
The Hollywood star appeared in a VT played during the concert from his fighter plane, where he delivered a special message to King Charles.
He said: ‘Pilot by pilot, Your Majesty. “You can be my partner.”