Katie Byrne: Beckileaks - How can David Beckham get the knighthood he so desperately desires?
Despite claims that the hacked emails between David Beckham and his publicist have been manipulated and taken out of context, the footballer's long-standing desire for the honorific of Sir in front of his name is patently clear. Would Beckham, who received an OBE in 2003, have been honoured with a knighthood if he took a different tack? Here are our top tips to bagging a knighthood.
1. DON'T PERFORM CHARITY WORK FOR PRAISE
There used to be a time when an A-lister could put on a white linen shirt, play a game of football with malnourished schoolchildren in Sierra Leone and then jump on a business class flight back to Heathrow with the reputation of a saint and the column inches of a sinner. Not anymore. Ever since actress Salma Hayek breastfed an African child, celebrities have had to do more than just wear the charity t-shirt. Honorary knight Bill Gates has pledged to donate 95pc of his personal fortune to charity. At the very least, Beckham should remember that charity doesn't require a pat on the back.
2. BECOME A HERITAGE BRAND
Celebrities who have received knighthoods and damehoods from the British throne, by and large, don't change with the seasons or reinvent themselves to attract more followers on Instagram. They are as reassuring as Sir Michael Caine's voice, as cocksure as Sir Tom Jones's dance moves and as enduring as Dame Shirley Bassey's hairdo. Beckham, who has experimented with everything from sarongs to cornrows, is more trendy than timeless.
3. OVERCOME REPUTATIONAL DAMAGE
The footballer reportedly suggested that singer Katherine Jenkins didn't deserve her OBE. "OBE for what?" he allegedly asked. "Singing at the rugby and going to see the troops plus taking coke. F***ing joke". For her own part, Jenkins went on to perform a four-warzone tour and become better known for morale-boosting visits to Camp Bastion than drug-taking. Beckham had a chance at repairing the reputational damage he suffered following his alleged affair with personal assistant Rebecca Loos - but then she went and pleasured a pig on reality TV series The Farm. There's just no coming back from that one.
4. PATIENCE, GRASSHOPPER
While tennis champion Andy Murray became a Sir at 29, it's worth noting that knighthoods are generally bestowed on personalities of a certain vintage. Pelé was 57 when he received his honorary knighthood - the same age at which Bobby Charlton and Alex Ferguson got the nod. The footballer would surely have benefited from playing the long game, but patience doesn't seem to be a virtue in the Beckham household. Victoria Beckham was reprimanded for "discrediting the honours system" when it was revealed that she was getting an OBE before the list was published last month (nominees are supposed to keep their inclusion on the list secret).
5. A KNIGHTHOOD ISN'T AN IDENTITY
Beckham ought to remember that the honour of a knighthood is almost universally received with a spirit of modesty. Andy Murray says he doesn't want to be called Sir following his recent knighthood; Michael Caine says he never mentions it and Ben Kingsley was mortified when producers used his honorific in the publicity posters for his film, Lucky Number Slevin.
6. BOND, JAMES BOND
There are no hard and fast rules for receiving a knighthood or damehood, but having a hand in a James Bond film definitely helps. If Beckham could wangle even a walk-on part, he could join the roll call of Sir Roger Moore, Sir Sean Connery and Dame Judi Dench. Just an idea…
No sex please, we're engaged
In a recent interview, Victoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr suggested that she and her billionaire fiancé Evan Spiegel are abstaining from sex until they marry later this year.
Kerr described her fiancé, the founder of social media company Snapchat, as "very traditional".
While their arrangement might hark back to a bygone era, it could also be argued that it's a progressive antidote to the hypersexualisation of the modern age. In a world where 'sexting' precedes first dates and 'safe words' are discussed in the same breath as contraception, perhaps we could all benefit from pacing ourselves sexually if we want our romantic relationships to stay the distance.
Maybe Kerr and Spiegel (above) are swearing off sex for religious reasons. Or maybe the social media experts know the dangers of instant gratification and diminishing attention spans. Either way, good for them.