‘The audience gasped when Princess Diana appeared’

By Interview: Hannah Booth

Wayne Sleep remembers a remarkable dance duet at the Royal Opera House in December 1985

Our paths first crossed when she approached me for dance lessons in the early 1980s. Diana loved ballet, but she also wanted to learn jazz, tap and contemporary. Sadly, I couldn't teach her, because I was away on tour so much. But she approached me again when she wanted to perform at the Royal Opera House – it was a private show for supporters and friends of the Royal Ballet. Charles was going to be in the audience and she wanted to surprise him; it was all top secret.

We met in a rehearsal studio in west London. She was in leg-warmers and a leotard. My first thought was, she's too tall to dance with me, I'll be a laughing stock: I'm 5ft 2in and she's 5ft 11in. But I soon realised she had a good sense of humour, and that we could have some fun with our height difference. She'd already decided on the music: Billy Joel's Uptown Girl.

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Source: ‘The audience gasped when Princess Diana appeared’