Wayne Sleep, Princess Diana’s dance partner, has revealed that the late royal would wash his dishes in his London flat to “take a break” from her day-to-day life.
The choreographer, 74, who is originally from Plymouth, appeared on BBC Radio 3’s Private Passions where he spoke about his friendship with the mother of two.
In 1985, the pair performed a routine for Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl at a charity gala at London’s Royal Opera House to mark King Charles’ 37th birthday.
Wayne struck up a friendship during rehearsals and says he kept in touch with Princess Diana long after their performance, raving about her “wit.”
He told host Michael Berkeley, “Every time we saw each other again, the shoes went off in my flat, she did the dishes, we had fun and we giggled.”
Princess Diana and Wayne Sleep envisioned performing their routine for Uptown Girl at London’s Royal Opera House in December 1985
“I think she didn’t come to me that much because of the serious part that was going on in her life at the time, and things moved so fast there, I think she just came to me for a break.”
During the radio segment, Wayne said he first met Diana at a small dance studio in the 1980s – and they quickly became friends.
At first, Wayne says he wasn’t sure how they could make the dance work because of Diana’s 5-foot-7.
Wayne described how they had a similar sense of humor, saying that Diana called him a “naughty boy” after confessing to having a “very late night” at their first early morning meeting.
Elsewhere in the interview, the dancer – who was the Senor Principal at the Royal Ballet – discussed how far they went to keep their performance a secret.
In addition to practicing their routine in multiple different locations, the pair kept the surprise within a small circle of people.
While explaining how Diana’s lady-in-waiting Anne Beckwith-Smith and his coach Alan were behind the secret, Alan said those who knew were worried about how it would turn out.
He added, “They were all scared for their lives or their jobs because if we did a funny little routine, it was stupid.”
However, the professional said it was clear that Diana had a talent for dancing from the start of their rehearsals – as the princess had studied ballet as a child.
The choreographer, 74, appeared on BBC Radio 3’s Private Passions where he spoke about his friendship with the mum-of-two
Elsewhere in the interview, Wayne says he gave Diana a gentle “push” to make her bow to King Charles in the royal box. The couple is pictured during their 1985 tour of Australia
Looking back on the night of the performance itself, Wayne says it was drastically different from how it was portrayed in season four of The Crown.
While the Netflix series had audiences cheering the moment Diana, played by Emma Corrin, walked on stage, Wayne says he could hear the 2,500 audience gasp.
However, he says the audience later reached that level of excitement, luring the pair out for eight curtain calls.
In past interviews, Wayne has said that when she took the stage, people initially thought Diana was a lookalike.
As a result, Wayne says, Diana wrote to him days later that she now appreciated the “buzz” that comes from live performances.
The pair received eight curtain calls after their performance and Wayne says Diana wrote to him afterwards to gulp about the ‘buzz’ she was feeling
Sleep’s 1985 dance to Uptown Girl with Princess Diana was recreated in season four of The Crown with Jay Webb playing the flamboyant star who accompanied the princess (Emma Corrin)
In addition, the dancer claims that he even gave Diana a gentle nudge to bow to her husband – who was in the Royal Box.
As they left the stage, Wayne claims Diana turned to him in jest and said, “That’s not how you get your OBE!”
Last week, Wayne told the Daily Mail that Princess Diana would have enjoyed The Crown’s portrayal of her life and marriage.
He said, “Diana would have absolutely loved it. It spares no one! Everyone gets their innings.’
However, Princess Diana wasn’t the only royal family to enjoy doing housework.
Former royal butler Paul Burrell, who appeared on Vicky Pattison’s The Secret podcast in December 2020, said the Queen always enjoyed helping with the dishes at Balmoral.
He explained: ‘(The Queen) likes to have picnics, but the food is all prepared.
‘She likes to do the dishes. She puts on the Marigolds and when she goes to the cabin in Balmoral she’s standing there with her Marigolds on and she washes and the lady-in-waiting dries herself.’