It seems that King Charles would like to sit down to eat with David Beckham. A date for dinner is in the diary.
And it’s just a few weeks since another well-known dining partner, actress Sienna Miller, was whisked up to Scotland to meet the King at Dumfries House, the cultural centre run by his charity, The Prince’s Foundation.
A case of an anxious monarch snuggling up to the celebs? Easy enough to sneer but there’s actually a bit more to this than a star-struck monarch or an appetite for easy headlines.
Prince Charles greets David Beckham at the 2019 premiere of the Netflix documentary Our Planet at the Natural History Museum
The Mail on Sunday exclusive which mired The Prince’s Foundation in troubling questions and led the Prince’s right hand man, Michael Fawcett, to resign
David Beckham and wife, Victoria, show off his OBE at Buckingham Palace in 2003
Sienna Miller at Wimbledon. The actress had been invited to meet Charles as part of secret plan to revamp his main charity
As the longest-serving Prince of Wales in history, Charles III knows only too well that stardust works, particularly when mixed with royalty. This is precisely the magic combination that helped propel the Prince’s Trust to worldwide fame.
After founding the charity in 1976, Charles harnessed the power of celebrity alongside the prestige of historic dynasty to help more than one million young people.
Today, he is drawing on the tried-and-tested formula once again.
Where Beckham and the King will meet is yet to be decided but it’s a coming together which could certainly benefit the former England football captain, who has made no secret of his desire for a Knighthood.
For Charles, the upside is greater still. Beckham’s iconic celebrity status could help transform the fortunes of a charity to which the King remains deeply attached.
Because Charles is not just attempting to help the Foundation, which has been a big part of his life’s work – and has unquestionably done huge good – he wants to completely re-brand it.
If the trustees have their way, it will soon become the King’s Foundation.
(This is not quite a done deal: the ‘King’s Foundation’ name currently belongs to another, smaller charity. Aides are in the process of attempting to persuade the small group to hand over the copyright. The discussion is said to be ‘amicable’.)
Why go to the trouble when the current name, The Prince’s Foundation, already packs a global punch?
The former Prince of Wales with Michael Fawcett, who was chief executive of The Prince’s Foundation, in November 2021
Well, for all its good work, the charity’s woes are well-documented – and serious.
Questions have been raised over the eye-watering donations flowing in from foreign tycoons. Those who gave generously were repaid with invitations to meet the royal personage himself.
Following revelations by The Mail on Sunday, The Prince’s Foundation faced allegations of ‘cash for honours’.
The good news for Charles is that a police investigation into those has now been dropped and the Scottish charity regulator has said it is content for the charity to continue its operations.
This happy development has emboldened the Foundation – and Charles – to plan for the future. And that means shaking off the shadows of the past.
On ascending the Throne, the King said that he would no longer have as much time for charities. This was inevitable. His workload – particularly when it comes to matters of state – has increased.
David Beckham offers the King a jar of his own home-produced honey at the British Fashion Council earlier this year
King Charles stands by the logo of ‘The Prince’s Trust’ as he welcomes guests during a reception for African business leaders, at the Garrison Chapel, in October
Every day he must deal with red boxes of government documents while handling pressing issues at home and abroad, plus a weekly audience with the Prime Minister.
So, the re-brand is a sign of Charles’s real commitment to the Foundation – and a determination to protect his legacy as a hardworking philanthropist.
First, though, he must shore up the Foundation’s creaking reputation.
And that, whatever his Majesty might make of Beckham Inc in private, or his tattoos, is precisely where the man with 84.7million Instagram followers comes into the equation.