A piece of Princess Diana history didn’t find a buyer at auction.
The blue velvet gown that the late royal wore during her instantly iconic dance with John Travolta at a 1985 White House state dinner recently went up for sale with Kerry Taylor Auctions. Despite estimates that the dress would fetch between $330,000 and $450,000, bids failed to reach the reserve price of around $265,000.
However, the dress was sold post-auction to a British institution for about $290,000. The seller was “delighted as he hoped it would stay in the UK,” according to the auction house.
Two of Princess Diana’s other ensembles were sold at the auction for above estimated prices: a blue velvet evening gown by Katherine Cusask sold for over $60,000, while a navy Catherine Walker outfit went for nearly $37,000.
Princess Diana requested her iconic bare shoulder look be made in midnight blue after seeing a burgundy version at designer Victor Edelstein’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.”
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.”
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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.”