Travolta hosted the 21st Annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards in Los Angeles on Friday, where Harry was due to be honoured for his service as a helicopter pilot in the British Army. Harry took the stage and Travolta, a recreational pilot, presented the royal with a medal.
“This is nice,” said Harry in footage posted on X, formerly Twitter.
“Thanks very much, Captain John,” he added in Travolta’s direction, as the host walked off. “Don’t go running away. I was one year old when you danced with my mum, as you told everybody here, and continue to dine out on that — probably every single night. But look at us now.”
While the audience returned mild chuckles, Harry continued to rib Travolta: “If we’re not gonna dance together, we’ll fly together.
“That’s it, thank you — we’re done,” he went on, before going on to give thanks.
Travolta twirled Diana, Harry’s mother, around at the White House in a widely photographed moment in 1985. The Saturday Night Fever actor, whose turn in the dance-heavy drama made him a superstar, reportedly once called his steps with Diana “one of the highlights of my life.”
Not everyone in attendance at the awards show felt there was bitterness in the exchange between Harry and Travolta.
“He talked about taking off and being up in God’s playground, up in the clouds, and he talked about the taste of magic (being up there),” director Catherine Hardwicke, whose friend Lauren Sánchez also received a medal, told Hello Magazine. “It was poetic.”