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Find out who Princess Diana really wanted to dance with instead of John Travolta

Princess Diana's former butler Paul Burrell spoke about who she really wanted to dance with

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Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
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The photo of Diana, Princess of Wales dancing with John Travolta while at President Reagan's White House gala is now iconic, but the stunning photo moment captured on camera could have been very different. According to Paul Burrell, Diana's former butler, the mother of Princes William and Harry would also have loved to have danced with actor Mikhail Baryshnikov, who played Aleksandr Petrovsky in Sex and the City.

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princess diana 1© Photo: Rex

The iconic moment when John danced with Diana

Speaking on the US documentary The Last 100 Days of Diana, Paul said: "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.'" John Travolta had previously spoken about the special moment, telling Dutch TV station Één that Nancy Reagan suggested that he ask her to dance. "I didn't know or expect to dance with Princess Diana, and it was the president's wife, Nancy Reagan, that said, 'It is her wish.' 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."

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Mikhail played Sarah Jessica Parker's romantic interest in Sex and the City

This isn't the first time Paul has spoken about Diana's desire to dance with Mikhail. In his biography The Way We Were, he wrote that Diana said: "John Travolta was a gentleman and absolutely charming but he wasn't my chosen partner." He added that she had once met Mikhail at a stage door of a London theatre so he would autograph her book." He had signed it without looking at her," Paul added.

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