Prince William and Duchess Catherine are set to land in New York on December 7, for a short trip to the U.S. It will be the couple’s first visit to the American Northeast, and will include a brief sojourn in Washington for the Prince. As the city gets set to host the royals, one British journalist is recalling a similar trip made by Prince William’s parents nearly 30 years ago.
In 1985, the Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana, visited Washington, D.C. and Florida. The occasion included a star-studded White House dinner, where Princess Diana danced with John Travolta. Gordon Rayner of the Telegraph reminds readers that the dress she wore sold at auction last year for £230,000 (U.S. $360,000), an indication of the fondness for which the event is remembered.
The Mirror reported that the sale — £240,000 (U.S. $375,000) including the buyer’s premium — was made to an anonymous bidder who wanted to cheer up his wife.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, like the earlier generation of royals, are likely to rub shoulders with celebrities during their public and private engagements. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the royals will attend a basketball game, where Jay-Z and Beyoncé are expected to also be in attendance. A high-priced fundraiser at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is also likely to attract the rich and well-connected.
Rayner notes that the welcome that greeted Charles and Diana came a mere month after the publication of a revealing magazine article about their relationship. The crowds were excited to see the couple who, at that time, had only been married four years. Rayner expects a similar enthusiastic reception for William and Kate, considering the crowds that greeted them during their trip to Canada. That tour, in 2011, attracted thousands of well-wishers, including one woman who drove 21 hours north from the state of Illinois, according to the Daily Mail.
The couple will stay at The Carlyle hotel in New York, which once hosted Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles.
Duchess Kate will be about halfway through her pregnancy when she arrives in the U.S. Although the Prince will attend meetings at the World Bank in Washington, the Duchess will stay in New York.
As for John Travolta’s memories of his night dancing with the princess, he told an interviewer it was arranged by Nancy Reagan. By Travolta’s account, she told the actor it was Diana’s desire to dance with him.
He went on to say in the interview, uploaded to YouTube in 2007 and embedded below, “I’m so honored that I was able to experience this and I know that it was her highlight for being in the United States. It was her favorite moment. So I feel like I made her life better, she made my life better, and I’m very sorry that she is not here.”
[Prince William and Kate Middleton Image: Chris Jackson/Getty Images]