Princess Diana danced with a number of famous faces at a 1985 White House dinner — but not with husband Prince Charles

By Stephanie Petit
April 23, 2021 04:19 PM
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Neil Diamond; Princess Diana
Neil Diamond; Princess Diana
| Credit: Getty (2)

Former White House photographer Pete Souza is opening up about the memorable night when Princess Diana visited.

After John Travolta recently spoke with Esquire Mexico about his iconic turn on the dance floor with the late royal, Souza shared his own recollections of Princess Diana on his Instagram page.

In addition to twirling around with Travolta, Princess Diana also danced with singer Neil Diamond at the 1985 White House dinner hosted by then-President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan.

"The one rock-solid remembrance I have is that Diana was visibly blushing when she danced with Neil," Souza captioned a shot shared to Instagram on Friday. "In the photograph, you can see that her cheeks are a bit red but in the moment it was even more obvious.⁣"'

The photographer added that Diamond sang a number of songs with the military band that evening, including "You Don't Bring Me Flowers."⁣

"My recollection–and I can't be sure this is correct–is that he continued singing this song as he danced with her," Souza wrote.

White House dinner, Washington DC, America - 09 Nov 1985
Princess Diana and President Ronald Reagan at a White House dinner on Nov. 9, 1985
| Credit: REX/Shutterstock

In another Instagram post shared Thursday, Souza remembered that Princess Diana hit the dance floor with a number of famous faces at the event.

"Diana also danced that night with President Reagan, Tom Selleck, Clint Eastwood and Neil Diamond," he wrote. "She did not dance with Prince Charles.⁣"

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Souza also said of Travola dancing with Princess Diana: "I made this photograph more than 35 years ago, but remember the moment as if it were yesterday.⁣"

The photographer also shared that the pair danced to the military band playing a medley of songs from Saturday Night Fever.

Travolta, 67, relived the moment during an interview for Esquire Mexico, admitting that he hadn't prepared to dance with the Princess of Wales.

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

White House dinner, Washington DC, America - 09 Nov 1985
Princess Diana and Tom Selleck
| Credit: REX/Shutterstock

Travolta said that the experience felt like a "fairytale" that he would continue to remember for decades to come.

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"Think of the setting. 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," he said. "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 added, "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."