Princess Diana's Velvet Gown from Her White House Dance with John Travolta Is for Sale
Fittings for the gown took place in Diana's private apartments at Kensington Palace — and she was so pleased with the final result that she rushed to show it to Prince Charles
In an instantly iconic moment, Princess Diana and John Travolta twirled around the dance floor at a 1985 White House state dinner hosted by then-President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan. Decades later, the late royal’s blue velvet dress is now up for auction.
Diana’s gown by Victor Edelstein is on sale from Kerry Taylor Auctions, and it is estimated that it will go for around $450,000.
Edelstein made dresses for the royal for over a decade, and Princess Diana requested her iconic bare shoulder look be made in midnight blue after seeing a burgundy version at the designer’s studio, according to the auction house.
Fittings for the gown took place in Diana’s private apartments at Kensington Palace — and she was so pleased with the final result that she rushed to show it to Prince Charles, who told her she looked “wonderful.”
Princess Diana completed her look that night with one of her signature pieces of jewelry, her sapphire choker necklace featuring seven strands of pearls.
Travolta recapped the famous moment for Dutch television station Één, saying that he’d “never forget it.”
“I didn’t know or expect to dance with Lady Diana, and it was the president’s wife, Nancy Reagan, that said, ‘It is her wish,’ ” the actor 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 continued. “I’m so honored 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 favorite moment. So I feel I made her life better, she made my life better, and I’m very sorry that she’s not here.”
During a Good Morning America appearance in 2016, Travolta was asked if there was anything from the ‘80s that he’d like to bring back to the 2010s. He said he’d love to dance with the royal again.
“Yes, I danced with Princess Diana in 1986, I believe,” he said. “That was one of the highlights of my life, so that’s probably the best moment of the ’80s.”
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Eleri Lynn, curator of the 2017 exhibit Diana: Her Fashion Story at the royal’s former home of Kensington Palace, told PEOPLE that Diana appreciated Hollywood and dance — and could have taken that path has life worked out differently for her.
“She was influenced by the cinema and the arts and she was also a very capable dancer — she had wanted to be a ballet dancer as a young girl,” Lynn said. “So this was really a meeting of her interest in cinema and her love of dance – to be dancing with John Travolta. The dress is a real masterpiece.”