Former First Lady Nancy Reagan helped make Princess Di's dream come to life at a 1985 White House banquet.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
March 22, 2019
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So many of us recall the dance that made the hearts of a nation swoon: Princess Diana dancing with John Travolta at the White House in November 1985 during a banquet hosted by President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan. The famous shuffle occurred while Princess Di and Prince Charles were on their royal tour to the U.S..

The dress. That blonde hair (Travolta's wasn't too bad, either). Their charisma. But what was Travolta really thinking during this iconic sashay? Well, the actor had quite the buildup to the big moment. In Tina Brown's 2007 biography, The Diana Chronicles, Travolta opened up to Brown about their time on the dance floor, as reported in the U.K.'s Express.

It all started when First Lady Nancy Reagan pulled Travolta aside during dinner at around 9:00pm and said that Princess Diana wished to dance with him. After Travolta enthusiastically agreed, Reagan told Travolta the dance would take place once she tapped him on the shoulder to indicate it was time, likely close to Midnight.

"It was clearly planned. I knew it would be an attention-grabbing moment and I had three hours to sweat," Travolta said in the Brown biography. "The tap on the shoulder comes. My heart starts to race. Nancy takes me over. Princess [is] not facing me. She's facing towards the President. I tap her on the shoulder and I say, ‘Would you care to dance?'"

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And then the floor clears out to make way for the debonair motion picture star and dashing royal. "We probably only dance ten minutes but it feels like 20," Travolta said, shortly thereafter adding "I did know it had to look like a million dollars because it was history being made — and it was my job to make it look as good as if it was in a movie."

Our hearts are still swooning.