Sunday, 24 September 2023

Beckhams' Love Affair with Dubrovnik: Celebrities, Privacy, and the Charm of Lopud

Written by  Sep 03, 2023

It seems that celebrities in Dubrovnik are like buses, you wait for one to turn up and then two turn up at the same time.

A few years ago, well before the pandemic, we welcomed a new well-known person on almost weekly basis. Whether it is due to the stars wanting to see where Game of Thrones was filmed, whether the rich and famous have been put off by our over-tourism or whether we simply aren’t “in” anymore, I don’t know. But the celebrities are certainly rarer.

I remember once walking the Stradun and bumping into Bob Geldof and a Princess from the Middle East on the same street.

And just when we thought we were going to have a season off from the front covers of Cosmopolitan and Hello! Magazine we get the richest man in the world and the most famous couple turn up within days of each other.

So it appears that the Beckhams have fallen in love with Dubrovnik, or more precisely Lopud. “It is extremely rare that celebrities return to the same destination in consecutive years,” explained one foreign journalist.

Could it be that David and Victoria will celebrate every wedding anniversary with us? Could they even be thinking of buying some villa here? What would be cool is if David comes next summer with Messi, a player that plays for the club he partly owns, Inter Miami.

Now, one of the biggest bonuses of the eminent names coming to Dubrovnik is the free publicity we receive. Every, and I mean every, newspaper in the UK (our most important market) has published tonnes of articles and photos of the Beckhams on vacation. And then there is the huge boost on social media. Even comments of "we don't care they are here," help to boost the algorithm, making them the most read story.

We see them so often in the media that we almost fell we know them.

And while the vast majority of celebrities crave attention they also want privacy. A delicate balance.

So a few days after Posh Spice and Becks had arrived in Dubrovnik I received an email that I honestly though was SPAM. It isn’t every day you receive and email from David Beckham! OK, just to be completely honest, the email was exactly from David himself, although it was from, it was from his PR and marketing. It wasn’t SPAM!

Basically the email was in regard to the fact that some paparazzi had been taking photos of the Beckhams youngest daughter, Harper, on the beach in her swimsuit. Bearing in mind that Harper is only 12 years’ old this is not only disrespectful but also illegal.

I can vividly remember the time when celebrities could walk through the city and nobody would bother them, in fact they would almost be ignored. Social media and newspapers looking for clicks on websites probably changed all that.

“If any picture agencies offer you any photos of Harper on the beach, or in swimwear, please may I request that they are not printed/circulated and that the agencies responsible are reminded that she is 12 years old and has a right to privacy,” was one line from the email. She does, I agree.

And just the next day I saw photos of her on a website in her swimming costume.

It must be traumatic living under a spotlight the whole time, with every move you make in the spotlight. Having a normal childhood is certainly priceless.

The email then asked if I have any question to contact them. So I did. Carpe diem! I explained that I hadn’t been offered any photos and I would never dream of publishing them anyway. “Oh, and by the way, is there any chance of interviewing or at least meeting Victoria and David,” was my cheeky question.

I didn’t receive an answer, and I am not surprised. But it was worth a try. Maybe there is a chance when they come back next year? Yes, I think they’ll be back again. They, like me, have clearly been bitten by the Dubrovnik bug and will be regular guests here, on their beloved Lopud. And once again we’ll wallow in the free publicity.

I’ll leave the last word to David “It's so important to have manners and treat people from all walks of life the way they should be treated.”

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to


About the author
Mark Thomas (aka Englez u Dubrovniku) is the editor of The Dubrovnik Times. He was born and educated in the UK and moved to live in Dubrovnik in 1998. He works across a whole range of media, from a daily radio show to TV and in print. Thomas is fluent in Croatian and this column is available in Croatia on the website – Dubrovnik Vjesnik

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