British Royal Family

Who Princess Diana really wanted to dance with on the night she twirled with John Travolta

Sorry John Travolta, but Lady Di had eyes for someone else on that fateful evening.

By Bella Brennan
It's one of the most memorable moments of Princess Diana's life, captured forever in a series of incredible photos - the night the Princess of Wales danced with actor John Travolta at President Reagan's White House reception in 1985.
But according to a new documentary called The Last 100 Days of Diana, the mother-of-two actually wanted to dance with a completely different man that night.
Her former butler tells the docco she was eyeing off ballet dancer/actor, Mikhail Baryshnikov, aka Alexander Petrovsky from Sex and the City, who was also invited along to the VIP bash.
As an aspiring ballerina in her formative years, the royal was in awe of the American Ballet principal dancer.
In 1985 Diana, who loved ballet, took to the stage to perform at dance to Uptown Girl with Wayne Sleep at the Royal Opera House.
"Nancy and Ronny Regan set up the press to take a picture of her dancing with John Travolta. She said, 'I didn't really want to dance with him though. I wanted to dance with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Because he is my hero,'" Paul Burrell explains on the upcoming special.
It's not the first time loose-lipped Paul has made these claims.
In 2006 he revealed in one of his many tell-all book, The Way We Were, that Diana had apparently confided to him: "John Travolta was a gentleman and absolutely charming but he wasn't my chosen partner."
Paul, who has been black-listed by the Royal Family following countless explosive interviews about the late Princess, went on to say she'd had a pretty underwhelming encounter years earlier when she asked Mikhail for his autograph backstage at a London theatre.
"He had signed it without looking at her," Paul pens in his book.
Coming full circle, Paul says at the White House dinner it was Mikhail who handed Diana a menu to sign but the English beauty had other ideas.
"She wanted to dance with Baryshnikov," Paul pens.
Mikhail Baryshnikov dances The Nutcraker during the '90s.
The twinkle-toed star went on to play Russian artist Aleksandr Petrovsky on Sex and the City.
Neither John or Mikhail have commented on Paul's latest account of events but in a previous interview with Dutch channel Één, Scientologist John had a pretty glowing memory of his royal encounter.
"My memory of that is that I didn't know or expect to dance with Lady Diana and it was the President's wife, Nancy Ragen, who said it was her wish," the Saturday Night Fever star recounts.
"We were at the White House and at midnight, I had to tap 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 know for a fact that it was her highlight in being in the United States, it was her favourite moment. I feel like I made her life better, she made my life better," the 63-year-old admits.
He might not have been Di's first pick but at least John's backing himself!
WATCH: John Travolta (with the help of some very retro music!) looks back on his dance with Diana

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