Harper Beckham, daughter of Victoria and David Beckham, celebrated her sixth birthday on July 10 with a princess party at the Buckingham Palace. The party was attended by some of Harper’s closest friends, as well as real-life royal Princess Eugenie of York.
The youngest Beckham kid was dressed in a Cinderella gown and her five friends also wore princess-inspired outfits, Huffington Post reported. In a photo posted on David Beckham’s Instagram page, Harper and her friends posed with Princess Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.
In another post, the soccer superstar clarified that the Buckingham Palace did not open its gates for his daughter’s birthday party. He explained that his family was invited to a tea party there, which was also attended by other guests of the Duke and Duchess of York. The tea party simply coincided with Harper’s birthday. Beckham, who is an OBE, attended the event with his mother, as well as with Harper and her friends.
The Beckhams, however, have been receiving backlash for the spectacle at the Buckingham Palace, which is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II in London. Many criticized the party, saying the Beckhams were given special treatment for being allowed to celebrate Harper’s birthday at the publicly funded palace. Many also took offense at the notion that taxpayers’ money may have been used to host the event.
One last picture of the birthday girl…. Just to be clear this wasn't the palace opening the gates for Harper's birthday party , this was a tea party where us and other guests were invited so it was a beautiful thing to do with My mum , Harper plus a few school friends… We were honored to be able to there… Beautiful tea party…. ????
Dickie Arbiter, the former Buckingham Palace press secretary, told Sky News that “none of them has got a right to be there.”
Arbiter added, “Is it being opened up as a theme park? It devalues what the place is all about. Why do the Beckhams get special treatment?” He also asked if other kids have been invited to celebrate their birthdays at the Buckingham Palace like Harper.
In response to the outrage, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that the private tea party was paid for by the Duke of York and that royal family funds were not used to foot the bill. It was also said that the Beckhams did not tour around the palace’s State Apartments.
“From time to time members of the Royal Family who reside at royal residences invite guests to visit privately,” the spokesperson explained. Sources close to the situation claimed that the Duke and Duchess of York are friendly with the Beckhams, hence the invite to the “private family event.”
Although it is a common tradition for the royal family to host events at royal palaces, they are usually organized for charitable purposes and official engagements. Thus, the small tea party drew criticism for not being held for such purpose.
Many were irked at the Beckhams for publicly displaying photos from the tea party on their Instagram accounts. Robert Jobson, the author of the book The Future Royal Family, called out their action as “indiscreet and inappropriate” and in violation of royal protocol “of those who get invited to private events at the palace.”
The general public isn’t the only one criticizing David Beckham for deciding to share the photos on his Instagram account, which has 38.6 million followers. One photo in particular reportedly angered Stella McCartney.
The photo of Harper with her friends and Princess Eugenie also featured McCartney’s daughter, Reiley Willis. According to Ok! Magazine, the daughter of Beatles member Paul McCartney is furious at Beckham for posting the photo on social media.
McCartney isn’t pleased about this as she prefers to keep her kids out of the public eye. The 45-year-old designer never posts about her children on any of her social media accounts.
McCartney herself is an OBE and has strong connections with the royal family.
Reilly and Harper became good friends after Stella McCartney and Victoria Beckham set up a “play club” for the duo.
The controversy that followed Harper Beckham’s birthday celebration at the Buckingham Palace came after the British government approved almost $500 million to renovate the royal home. The Buckingham Palace is a royal residence publicly funded from taxpayers’ contributions.
[Featured Image by Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images]