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Brooklyn Beckham comes of age

Posh and David's first-born Brooklyn Beckham lives a privileged life, but his designer trainers are firmly on the ground.
Brooklyn Beckham

When Victoria Beckham was growing up, she used to beg her businessman father not to drop her off at school in his Rolls Royce. “It’s so embarrassing, Dad!” she’d wail.

Cut to 2015 and David Beckham is on the school run with his 16-year-old son Brooklyn. “I take him to school and he says to me, ‘Dad, park around the corner,’” says David, who turns 40 this week. “Then he gets out and he walks round to his school. He did it to me the other day after doing it about five times on the trot, so I’m driving round and he’s just walking into his school and I open the window and I say, ‘Brooklyn! I love you!’ Obviously it didn’t go down too well.”

Brooklyn might not like getting dropped off at school, but he’s happy to borrow his dad’s designer gear.

So far, so teenage. But when your parents are the world’s most famous footballer and a Spice Girl-turned-fashion designer, your social activities are rather better than a family picnic or school dance.

Brooklyn’s recent Instagram posts include snaps of him at the Coachella festival in California and getting up close with “Uncle” Elton John (68) – “the coolest godfather” – and model Cara Delevingne (22) at a fashion show. In his Facebook page descriptions (he has two), he is named as a sportsman and a public figure.

Brooklyn won’t be seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses like Sir Elton John.

“It seems normal to him because of where he comes from,” says a family friend. “Victoria and David do their best to keep their kids’ feet on the ground but it isn’t easy – especially as he’s part of Brand Beckham and enjoys his public appearances.”

As part of this drive, his practical parents insisted that Brooklyn get a weekend job to pay for the trainers and gadgets that all teenagers crave.

“It got to the stage where I was like, ‘If you want to buy some new stuff, or new boots or new trainers, then if you’re working for them, you can afford them yourself,” says David. “Much to his dismay, we packed him off to the local French café and he works there every Saturday and Sunday, and gets his own pocket money.”

In this, he is following in his mother’s footsteps. She worked in department stores before her big break. “I have never been the best dancer, the best singer, the most academic child at school or the best looking, but I have always worked really, really hard,” Victoria (41) says. “If you work hard enough and you’re dedicated enough, then basically it doesn’t matter what anybody says – you can do it.”

Brooklyn is already learning the value of this advice. A potential star footballer, he attends Arsenal’s football academy after school, along with his younger brothers, but recently failed to win the scholarship he’d hoped for.

Cosying up to model Cara Delevingne.

“Setbacks spur you on,” his mother insists. Both Victoria and David believe in old-fashioned values. “My parents brought me up to respect people, to behave – and I’m educating my children the same way,” Victoria says. “I don’t like spoiled children.”

David agrees. “My granddad used to say, ‘You treat everyone with respect, you behave like a gentleman, especially to women.’ I always say that to my boys.”

His parents are always on hand as his personal photographers.

This should stand Brooklyn in good stead, as he has already become a teen heart-throb, with hordes of girls following his multiple social media feeds.

His parents, however, monitor him carefully, even sitting at the back of the restaurant when he takes a girl out on a date. And when he filmed a clip to celebrate hitting one million Instagram followers, his father popped his head into shot to say, “I’ve got 52.”

“We have to explain to him that there are certain things he can’t do, hold him back,” says David. “School work is important and he needs to pass his exams, like anyone else. “But we let the children do 99% of the things they want to do because we want them to lead a normal life.”

Mum and dad still know best for their teenager.

Quite how normal life can be for any Beckham is a moot point. Brooklyn may have saved up his $5.20-an-hour pay from the café to get his ears pierced at a fashion chain store, but when he “borrows” clothes from his dad, they’re likely to be designer rather than bargain threads.

“I had a pair of Saint Laurent trousers that I’d never worn and Brooklyn found them and wore them – and is still wearing them,” David complains.

But then, his mother used a Gucci bag to carry her school books, rather than the rucksack favoured by her classmates when she was a kid. “You can’t help where you come from,” she shrugs. “But what you make of it is up to you.”

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