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John Travolta: “Dancing with Diana was one of the highlights of my life”

Ronald Reagan Library

Actor John Travolta has revealed that his favourite moment of the 1980s was when he danced with Princess Diana at the White House.

Speaking to Good Morning America back in 2016, Mr Travolta reflected on his moment with the Princess of Wales at a gala in 1985.

“That was one of the highlights of my life,” he told the interviewer. “So that’s probably the best moment of the eighties.”

The Prince and Princess of Wales were on a visit to the United States in November 1985 when they attended a White House Gala on 11 November, during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. First Lady Nancy Reagan urged Travolta to dance with Diana, stating that it was her wish to do so.

Mr Travolta was invited to the event, and danced with Diana to the music of one of his iconic films, Saturday Night Fever.

Mr Travolta has reflected on the dance on a number of occasions.

In 2007, he was promoting the movie musical Hairspray, and told a reporter that it was Diana’s request to dance with him.

“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.”

Images of the pair twirling around the dance floor became iconic, and were widely circulated around the globe.

“I’m so honoured that I was able to experience it, and I know for a fact that it was a 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,” he continued.

Diana wore a midnight blue velvet evening gown with off-the-shoulder sleeves designed by British designer Victor Edelstein. It immediately became one of her most famous dresses and was simply called the Travolta Dress. She wore it several times after the White House Gala, including when she sat for her last official portrait in 1997.

A few months before her death in 1997, the dress was auctioned off for charity for £100,000 by a Floridian businesswoman named Maureen Dunkel. It was the most expensive dress sold at the auction.

About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.