John Travolta says dancing with Princess Diana was ‘like a fairytale’

Joanna Whitehead
·3-min read
Princess Diana dances with John Travolta at a White House dinner in 1985 (Shutterstock)
Princess Diana dances with John Travolta at a White House dinner in 1985 (Shutterstock)

John Travolta has described his experience of dancing with Princess Diana at a White House state dinner as “a fairytale” that he would never forget.

The pair took to the floor at the 1985 event hosted by then-President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan, to the delight of attendees.

Travolta, who at that point was a global star due to his dance performances in the hit films Saturday Night Fever and Grease, reflected on the moment with Esquire Mexico.

“Think of the setting,” he said. “We were at the White House. It's midnight. The stage is like a dream. I approach her, touch her elbow, invite her to dance.

“She spins around and gives me that captivating smile, just a little sad, and accepts my invitation. And there we were, dancing together as if it were a fairytale,” he recalled.

The 67-year-old star of Pulp Fiction confessed that he had not expected to dance with royalty prior to the event.

“I didn't think they'd ask me to dance with her. I had the great privilege and honour of doing so, and I thought, 'There must be a reason for doing this and I better give it my all,' ” he said.

“That meant lead the dance well and make sure we had fun. That was the easy part, but just the fact of greeting Diana appropriately, being confident and asking her to dance was a complicated task,” he admitted.

”Who could ever imagine something like that would happen to them someday? I was smart enough to stamp it in my memory as a very special, magical moment,” he said.

The Get Shorty star previously revealed in an interview with Dutch television station Één that Nancy Reagan had told him Princess Diana wished to dance with him.

“[She] said, ‘It is her wish’”, he recalled. “At midnight, I had to tap her on her shoulder, and I had to say, 'Would you care to dance?' She turned around and dipped her head in that Lady Diana way, and we were off for 15 minutes dancing.”

“I'll never forget it,” he added. “I'm so honoured that I was able to experience this, and I know for a fact that it was her highlight of being in the United States; it was her favourite moment. So I feel I made her life better, she made my life better, and I'm very sorry that she's not here.”

A statue of Princess Diana is set to be unveiled on 1 July on what would have been her 60th birthday.

Prince Harry and Prince William commissioned the statue to mark the 20th anniversary of her death and will be installed in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, which was one of her favourite places within the palace grounds.

Prince Harry is expected to return to the UK for the unveiling, but may travel alone, as his wife Meghan is expected to give birth to their first daughter in the summer.

Meghan was not given medical clearance to travel to the UK for the Duke of Edinburgh’s recent funeral due to her pregnancy, so watched the service from the US.

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