The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge revealed their children were “jealous” of them attending the Top Gun premiere as they rubbed shoulders with a star-studded cast led by Tom Cruise.
William and Kate stole the show as they swooped down on the red carpet for the UK premiere of the blockbuster.
The couple dressed to impress as they arrived at the event in London’s Leicester Square to cheers from onlookers and the flashes of cameras on Thursday evening.
But two children who spoke to William and Kate revealed the couple’s own brood, George, Charlotte and Louis, were gutted to miss the glitzy screening.
Alfie Everett-Fletcher, nine, who met William at the cinema, said: “He asked me what I liked about the last one, the things I like, if I like jets and planes and motorbikes.”
Alfie said William told him he is a “big fan” of the film and “cars and stuff”.
His mother Elise Everett added: “He said they have had the theme tune for the film playing with their kids.”
Alfie also said William told him his own children were “jealous” to miss the premiere.
Poppy Saunders, 11, said it was “really good” to meet Kate and give her a bunch of flowers outside the auditorium, although she was “really nervous”.
She said: “I gave the flowers and shook hands and she said ‘hello Poppy’. She said a lot about how the kids love the film as well.”
Her mother Linsay Saunders added: “She said she liked sweet peas because there were sweet peas in the flowers.”
On the young royals, Ms Saunders said Kate told them “they wished they were here tonight”.
She added: ”And I said ‘well, it is a school night’.”
They joined Hollywood royalty Tom Cruise, who reprized his role as hotshot US fighter pilot Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell for the eagerly awaited sequel to the 1986 movie.
William sported a dapper Alexander McQueen tuxedo and Kate wore a black and white Roland Mouret dress as they dazzled at the Royal Film Performance screening.
William, 39, who served as a pilot in the East Anglian Air Ambulance from March 2015 to July 2017, walked with a ramrod-straight back to rival the movie’s protagonist, Maverick.
He was wearing Crockett & Jones loafers with “F-18” embroidered on them, a nod to the fighter jets in the movie.
Cruise earlier told the PA news agency he had “a lot in common” with William.
I added: “We both love England, and we’re both aviators, we both love flying.”
Cruise, 59, introduced William and Kate to his co-stars in front of a model of a fighter plane from the film, which had “Capt Pete Mitchell Maverick” emblazoned on it near the cockpit.
Cruise also told PA: “I love what I do, I’ve always enjoyed it and I’m enjoying it even more now.
“Particularly after the last couple of years, just to have an event like this is extraordinary.”
Other stars include Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Monica Barbaro, Val Kilmer, Jon Hamm and Glen Powell.
Jon Hamm, who plays Cyclone, said: “Well, you want to be prepared obviously but you want to be able to bring what you bring to it, your particular skill set.
“But I felt very comfortable in the hands of not only Tom, this project obviously carries a lot of weight for him and I knew he would have a lot of stake in it and make sure that it was going to be a very important, well done piece, but also Jerry Bruckheimer and everybody at Paramount.
“They’ve done this before, and this project means a lot to all of those people and they weren’t going to let it happen without it being perfect.
“And I think we achieved that.”
The film was originally due for release in July 2019 but was repeatedly pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The fundraising event was hosted by Paramount Pictures and The Film and TV charity, which supports people working behind the scenes in the UK’s screen sector.
It was the 72nd Royal Film performance – events attended by royals marking the premiere of a big movie release – delivered by the charity.
Paramount Pictures will release Top Gun: Maverick in the UK and Ireland on May 27.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.