Leading article: Oh Romeo, Romeo

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The Independent Online

Youth is clearly no bar to fashion sense, to judge by GQ Magazine's Best-Dressed List, which has placed Romeo Beckham, aged eight, in 26th position, a few notches behind the Prime Minister, David Cameron. No doubt some will say that this positioning owes less to Romeo's own fashion sense than to that of his parents. Presumably, they are the guiding force when it comes to his choice of clothes. Still, much the same cavil could be directed at many an adult star whose apparently expert knowledge of this year's hits and misses in truth depends on the acute fashion instincts of a dresser.

The idea that a child could be a fashion leader would not have surprised our ancestors a few centuries ago. Back in the 16th and 17th centuries, people barely recognised the concept of childhood. There were babies and everyone else, and as one can see from paintings of Renaissance princes and their families, children wore clothes every bit as lavish, daring and modish as those of their parents, only in miniature.

The problem with Romeo Beckham being set up as a child star is that he may find the whole business hard to live with, and up to. As Voltaire once said, "What a heavy burden is a name that has become famous too soon." Beckhams take note.