Prince William And Tom Cruise's Red Carpet Reunion Brings Much-Needed Royal Levity

Unfortunately, the royal family has been experiencing serious health concerns lately, like King Charles III's cancer diagnosis and Catherine, Princess of Wales' recent abdominal surgery. William, Prince of Wales, took a hiatus from royal duties to focus on his family while Kate was in the hospital. Now that she's back home, William's returned to public events. On February 7, 2024, he attended the London Air Ambulance Charity Gala and reconnected with his friend Tom Cruise

When the prince smiled and greeted the actor, William jokingly referenced his plain shiny black shoes. "I haven't got my 'Top Gun' slippers on tonight," he said (via People). William's comment was a reference to the 2022 London premiere of "Top Gun: Maverick." That night, while Kate wore a stunning black and white off-the-shoulder gown, William made a fashion statement on his own, rocking velvet shoes with F-18 fighter jets embroidered over the toes. The bespoke footwear was crafted especially for William by Crockett & Jones. The brand offers a variety of velvet slippers as a nod to Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, some with whimsical embroidered designs. 

During his speech at the charity gala, William continued to keep things light after sharing heartfelt appreciation for well-wishes to Charles and Kate. "It's fair to say the past few weeks have had a rather 'medical' focus. I thought I'd come to an air ambulance function to get away from it all!" he joked (via People). The prince also included a shout-out to Cruise, thanking him and playfully requesting that he avoid using the organization's helicopters in his future action films. 

Tom Cruise has a longstanding connection with the royal family

Tom Cruise's relationship with the royals extends over 30 years. In 1992, Cruise chatted with Princess Diana at the London premiere of his film "Far and Away." Five years later, the actor paid his respects at Diana's funeral. Cruise also cultivated a friendship with the late Prince Philip. At a 2017 charity dinner, Philip charmed the "Top Gun" actor by relating "the wonderful story of how he got the first helicopter into Buckingham Palace during [The Queen's] coronation," as Cruise shared afterward (via The Telegraph). Five years later, Cruise was invited to co-host "A Gallop Through History" at Queen Elizabeth's 2022 Platinum Jubilee festivities. Soon after, Cruise purportedly got to fly his own helicopter to Windsor Castle and join the late monarch for tea. Cruise is said to have honed his helicopter skills for 2018's "Mission Impossible: Fallout." 

Cruise's enthusiasm for piloting helped establish his friendship with William, Prince of Wales. At the 2022 "Top Gun: Maverick," premiere, Cruise referenced their similarities: "We both love England and we're both aviators, we both love flying" (via My London). Cruise got a pilot's license in 1994, and owns a historic World War II fighter plane and a more modern Gulfstream jet. William trained with the Royal Air Force in 2009 for a career as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot.  In addition, William has spent time as an air ambulance pilot as well as serving as a patron of London's Air Ambulance.