Princess Diana tragically died in 1997, but her legacy has endured. Today she is still one of the most famous members of the royal family, a subject of endless cultural fascination.
Between her family being heavily in the headlines in recent weeks and dramatic depictions like Netflix’s The Crown, people are still talking about Diana and her influence. And with this summer marking what would’ve been both her 60th birthday and the 40th anniversary of her famous wedding, many Diana tributes are soon to come.
One Diana moment that still fascinates people is her 1985 visit to the White House, for a dinner hosted by then-President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan.
Today the night is best remembered for the many photos of Diana dancing with many of the day’s biggest male stars. She hit the dance floor with John Travolta, Clint Eastwood, Tom Selleck and President Reagan himself.
But recently, the White House photographer revealed which man made her blush the most.
The black-tie dinner was held on November 9, 1985, in honor of the visiting Diana & Charles. The event is remembered as a big success.
“The dinner for the Prince & Diana was a great success,” the Ronald Reagan White House Diary entry from the night reads. “It had not a hint of ‘State Dinner’ flavor. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time.”
Dancing with John Travolta
The most iconic image of the night is Diana dancing with John Travolta. After Saturday Night Fever and Grease, Travolta had established himself as a dancing icon, and Princess Diana couldn’t resist requesting a dance.
“Think of the setting. We were at the White House. It’s midnight,” Travolta recently recalled, in an interview with Esquire Mexico. “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.”
The band played a medley of songs from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
“Who could ever imagine something like that would happen to them someday?” Travolta said. “I was smart enough to stamp it in my memory as a very special, magical moment.”
Tom Selleck & Clint Eastwood
Other dance partners included Tom Selleck and Clint Eastwood — although they weren’t quite as comfortable on their toes as Travolta.
“I was so nervous I couldn’t think of anything sensible to say,” Selleck told the Daily Mail. “It remains one of my great regrets – I danced with Princess Diana and couldn’t say a damn interesting thing to her the whole time.”
“At least I wasn’t quite as uncomfortable as Clint Eastwood. He went next and was really out of his safety zone!”
‘Visibly blushing’ with Neil Diamond
But of all the men Diana danced with, there was one who really made her swoon.
Pete Souza, the official White House photographer during the Reagan administration, shared his own memories of the night on Friday… and it remembers that it was pop superstar Neil Diamond who won the lady’s heart.
He recalls that the “Sweet Caroline” singer performed some of his hit songs accompanied by the military band, and during “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” he started dancing with Lady Diana.
And Diana was clearly moved: “The one rock-solid remembrance I have is that Diana was visibly blushing when she danced with Neil.”
Indeed, in the photo you can see Diana’s face is noticeably red. “In the moment it was even more obvious,” Souza wrote.
In another post, Souza also recalled that despite the lineup of famous men she hit the dance floor with, her own husband was not one of them: “She did not dance with Prince Charles,” Souza says. The couple had a famously tense marriage that ultimately ended in a divorce in 1996.
What a night that must have been. So many iconic celebrities all at one dinner.
It’s clear that all these men have great memories today of dancing with Diana — and she clearly enjoyed herself, too.
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