Tom Cruise wants to follow in the Duke of Edinburgh’s footsteps and land a helicopter in an iconic London landmark. The Hollywood A-lister was a special guest at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, introducing The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery at the open-air arena in Windsor.
The 59-year-old actor, best known for action film franchises Top Gun and Mission: Impossible, told presenters Phillip Schofield and Julie Etchingham that the Queen “is a woman I greatly admire”. He said: “It is a wonderful, wonderful event. I’m very honoured to be here, it’s a real privilege. I think she’s someone who has tremendous dignity and I admire her devotion. What she’s accomplished has been historic.
“Presidents, world leaders, people of all walks of life. I think that not just America, but the world knows her dignity and devotion and kindness, that’s what we I’ve always felt about her. (She is) someone that understands her position and has held it through a history that’s just been extraordinary the past 70 years.”
While speaking to Schofield and Etchingham backstage, Cruise recalled a particular anecdote with the late duke, whom he had met at a charity event. He said: “There was a moment, of course we were talking about pilots, we had to talk about helicopters, and he was telling me the wonderful story of how he got the first helicopter into Buckingham Palace during (the Queen’s) coronation.
“Fantastic story. I was this close to going ‘I’d like to land a helicopter, if you ever need a helicopter, I think I could put it right there.’ Since I was four-years-old I wanted to make movies and fly airplanes.”
Schofield retorted: “I hope that we planted a little seed and at some stage you get to land a helicopter in Buckingham Palace.”
“Let me do it in Trafalgar Square,” Cruise said.
Cruise later introduced what he said was “one of the most enthralling, thrilling, heart-in-mouth displays” as he announced a performance by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery live at an open-air arena being staged close to Windsor Castle.
He said: “It takes huge courage and discipline to do what they do, galloping with guns that were fired in the battles of the First World War, weighing one-and-a-half tonnes, with no brakes. The drive demonstrates absolute trust between horse and rider.”
The crowd clapped in time to the music as an orchestra played and the horses galloped around the arena.
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