One Direction star Harry Styles has become friends with one of Britain's most respected philosophers.

The 19-year-old heartthrob met Alain de Botton at a party and the pair surprisingly got on well and Harry spent a long time picking Alain's brain about the subject.

The 43-year-old academic - who wrote the book 'The Consolations of Philosophy' - told The Sun newspaper: "He was very interested in finding out about philosophy. He seemed a very intelligent chap."

Alain hopes Harry will introduce the subject - which deals with the meaning of human existence - to the millions of One Direction fans and make them realise it is an accessible subject.

He said: "In an ideal world, Harry Styles would be teaching his 10 million Twitter followers a little more about Greek philosophy. The problem we have got is that the most famous people in the country tend to believe in things that are not particularly ambitious.

"Meanwhile, the people who believe in really ambitious things are stuck away in an ivory tower and no one bothers listening to what they think. My plan is to get people such as Harry to go on TV and recommend to everyone they read Proust and Hegel ... Hopefully, this will be the start of Harry engaging with more philosophy."

Harry seems to be listening to Alain as he took to his Twitter account to talk about Socrates - a classical Greek Athenian philosopher who features in the work of his student Plato.

The 'What Makes You Beautiful' singer tweeted: "Socrates, born in Athens in the 5th century BCE, marks a watershed in Ancient Greek philosophy."