Prince Harry was recognized as an aviation legend at a glamorous ceremony in Beverly Hills on Thursday night. The Duke of Sussex delivered a moving tribute to his late mother Princess Diana, recalling her famous 1985 dance with John Travolta at the White House. Meanwhile, back home there are mixed reactions to Harry’s latest Hollywood honor.
Harry “Deeply Grateful” for Aviation Award
Prince Harry expressed that he was “deeply grateful” to receive the Living Legend of Aviation award at the annual gala held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
“I’m truly humbled to be honored by the Living Legends of Aviation this evening,” said Harry in his acceptance speech. “As the grandson of a wonderful aviation pioneer, I’m delighted to accept this on behalf of my grandmother, Princess Diana.”
The prize was presented by Hollywood icon John Travolta, who made reference to his legendary dance with Diana at President Reagan’s White House gala in 1985. Harry thanked Travolta for the “incredibly kind introduction” and for honoring his mother’s memory.
“We all watched that dance with Princess Diana way back in 1985. Believe me it’s one of the most magical moments ever seen. So thank you for honoring her this evening,” Harry said.
Other aviation VIPs in attendance included pilot Sully Sullenberger, Harrison Ford, founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos, and Bezos’ partner Lauren Sanchez.
The Living Legends prize recognizes Harry’s decade of service helicopter piloting with the British military. Guests mingled and dined on a multi-course dinner at the hotel. Harry attended solo as wife Meghan Markle stayed home in Montecito after one of their children fell ill.
Harry Recalls Diana’s Iconic Dance Floor Spin
In his acceptance speech, Prince Harry recalled watching his mother dance with John Travolta from the sidelines as a young boy. He said it was a “seminal moment” for Diana.
“I was about five years old, clinging to the hem of my mother’s dress as she danced with John. It’s a seminal moment in my life and my mother’s life,” Harry reminisced.
He said the dance left a lasting impression on Diana, who passed away in 1997.
“She spoke about that dance over and over again for years after. I think it surprised her in many ways how much it meant to her – this fleeting moment of spontaneity and joy,” said the emotional prince.
Harry went on to thank Travolta for being “so kind and generous in keeping her memory alive.” It brought Harry “great comfort” knowing Diana is still remembered so fondly.
|Marriage to Prince Charles
|White House dance with John Travolta
|Diana passes away in Paris car crash
Mixed Reaction Back Home to Prince’s Latest Hollywood Foray
While Prince Harry was rubbing shoulders with A-listers at the Beverly Hills gala, his honor is garnering mixed reviews back home.
Royal expert Colonel Richard Kemp called Harry’s Living Legend aviation award “absolutely absurd.”
“He spent 10 years as an average military pilot and occasional co-pilot. That’s no basis for a prestigious civilian aviation award,” railed Kemp.
However, some media pundits had a more positive interpretation of the prize.
“This is Prince Harry building his own legacy in the U.S. – separate from his royal role in Britain. The aviation award symbolizes him taking flight on a new path,” commented royal correspondent Katie Nicholl.
Either way, Harry’s latest starry appearance is cementing his place in Hollywood’s weirdest club – much to the bemusement of many royals fans across the pond. The glitzy gala was decidedly less stuffy than a typical royal engagement.
Harry and Meghan Weigh Options in Britain and U.S.
As Prince Harry establishes his independent identity with high profile engagements like Thursday’s ceremony, speculation continues to swirl over his future plans with Meghan.
Palace gossip is focused on whether Harry could attend his father King Charles III’s coronation in May. Harry is said to be unsure if he, Meghan and their children Archie and Lilibet would feel safe returning to Britain. Security concerns continue despite Charles reportedly inviting the Sussexes to Westminster Abbey.
If the family does come over, their attendance would likely be contingent on getting British police protection. Tensions have lingered since Harry and Meghan sensationally quit royal life in 2020.
On the American front, there is gossip Harry and Meghan have been house-hunting in wealthy Hope Ranch near their current Montecito home. Trading up to an even more lavish California mansion could signal the Sussexes digging in their roots across the Atlantic.
Balancing commitments in both Britain and the U.S. will require some delicate diplomacy going forward. Harry especially seems conflicted over healing the rift with his father and brother William, while also embracing his new independent life.
What’s Next: California Home Upgrade? Coronation Return?
In the coming months, royal watchers will be keeping close tabs on whether Prince Harry and his young family make the return trip to Britain. Traditionally dukes play an important symbolic role in coronation ceremonies. Harry’s attendance would send a powerfully symbolic message of reconciliation.
There will also be attention on Harry and Meghan’s real estate plans on the West Coast. Several mansions currently on the market could provide an upgrade from their relatively modest $14 million Montecito residence.
As the Sussexes weigh their transatlantic options, Prince Harry continues forging his own path – with the memory of his beloved mother Diana guiding the way forward.
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