Princess Diana Once Gave Charles A Christmas ‘Gift’ That He Did Not Appreciate
By Ryan Unger
When you’re a member of the royal family, your Christmas gifts can literally become the talk of every media outlet in the world. To soothe the stress of the holidays, royal gifts have often taken on a corny tone over the years. However, one year, Princess Diana gave her hubby something extraordinary that got an emotional reaction that no one saw coming — and especially her.
What gift do you give to a Queen?
Gift-giving is a pretty big deal in the royal family. They are the most famous family on the planet, after all. However, times are a-changing and in recent years, gifts have often aimed for a more humorous tone rather than trying to hit a heartfelt or sincere note.
Gag gifts are the new thing
For example, Queen Elizabeth II was gifted a shower cap that read “ain’t life a [drag]” one year, while a then-young and single Prince Harry made off with a “grow your own girlfriend” kit. Gag gifts, however, weren’t always the name of the game for Britain’s first family.
Diana’s splendid gifts
Sure, the occasional jokey present was passed around, but one member who always tried to give her husband something near and dear to the heart was apparently Princess Diana. What’s more, she usually hit it out of the park, according to reports.
One lucky prince
Charles was the lucky recipient of many of Diana’s gifts over the years. Like any grateful husband, he surely opened them up with a smile on his face and love in his heart, right? For a while, at least...
It started at the gala
However, back in 1985, Charles was presented with something that didn’t exactly go over the way that Diana hoped it would. Instead, the prince was left with a rather sour taste in his mouth. The story all started with a Christmas gala.
A party in Covent Garden
A lavish holiday celebration was set to unfold in Covent Garden in London. Diana looked forward to the night’s events, highlighted by an elaborate ballet routine that would dazzle everyone in attendance. And it perhaps meant more to her than most people realized.
A passion for ballet
Ballet held a special place in Diana’s heart. She took lessons as a young child, and she even participated in English National Ballet rehearsals as an adult. And her passion for dance was the reason that she had contacted a man named Wayne Sleep.
Wayne Sleep’s assistance
Sleep was a famous dancer, as well as being a director, a choreographer, and an actor, and he had spent many years at the top of the ballet game. And Diana needed his expertise for the surprise that she had in store for Charles.
Diana had quite a vision when it came to the Christmas party. She told Sleep that she wanted to choreograph a dance to Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” for all the attendees. As you can imagine, Sleep was instantly on board.
The rehearsals begin
Sleep was more than familiar with “Uptown Girl,” and he carefully crafted a three-minute routine to perform alongside Diana. He presented the idea to the princess, and the two began rehearsing in secret.
Nothing short of spectacular
The two spent hours together, making sure that the entire dance was nailed down to perfection. She was a princess, after all — she wanted the performance to be nothing short of spectacular.
Slipping out of sight
Finally, the night of the Christmas gala arrived. One can only imagine that Diana was especially excited about the events that were about to unfold. She sat next to Charles for much of the night. At one point, though, she quietly slipped out of sight.
Front and center
Charles didn’t think much of Diana’s absence, you might suppose. However, his jaw hit the floor a few minutes into the live dance performance. That was when he realized exactly where his wife had disappeared to. She was front and center on the stage!
Letting her hair down
Charles surely couldn’t believe his eyes! He knew Diana loved dancing, but one can only imagine that he never thought the woman who was always so proper during royal celebrations could let her hair down in the funkiest way imaginable. He reportedly watched in awe.
Hitting every mark
Sleep and Diana were a force on the stage. They had their Billy Joel routine down to a tee, and they hit every mark that they had rehearsed. It could not have been a more perfect dance number for the two.
Wild applause ensues
The entire crowd of 2,000 was stunned as they watched Diana absolutely crush the performance, with electricity flowing through her every move. The pair finished off with an epic finale and were immediately met with wild applause!
Taking the final bow
After the pair took their final bow, Sleep told Diana that she had to also give a special bow to the royal box where Charles sat. According to Sleep, she responded, saying, “I’m not bowing to him — he’s my hubby!”
A hostile reaction
Now, you’d think that Charles would have been the most delighted man in the audience, seeing that the star of the show was his wife. However, he actually had the opposite reaction. And that was something that Diana did not see coming.
“She was showing off”
Diana’s friend Richard Kay explained, saying, “Charles wasn’t terribly impressed, because he thought that she was showing off.” Regardless of Charles’ opinion, though, it took guts to do what Diana had done — and she was pleased with herself.
You can’t win them all
Hey, when it comes to gift-giving, you can’t always come out on top, and that was something that Diana quickly learned after leaving the stage. However, one royal who always knew how to garner a smile with a gift was the Queen. And when Kate Middleton’s wedding anniversary came around, Elizabeth knew she had to give her something special.
A special gift
The Queen of England had access to greater treasures than few others in the world, so if anyone could give Kate the gift of a lifetime, it was her. But there’s more to being royal than tiaras and jewels, and the Queen knew that Kate was worth more than sparkles. She had a different gift in mind for the then-Duchess, in fact — one that couldn’t be found in a palace.
Doting on grandkids
The Queen had a lot to live up to, considering the things that she’d given to the couple on previous occasions. She’s often given members of the royal family esteemed titles and honors over the years, and she has a history of giving her grandchildren lavish gifts.
A royal manor
The gift that she gave William and Kate on their wedding day was certainly lavish: she turned over Anmer Hall to them, and it would go on to serve as a second home for Will, Kate, and their kids. But as far as gifts go, the Queen wasn’t done being generous.
A halo of diamonds
The Queen provided the beautiful tiara that Kate wore on her wedding day. Known as the Cartier Halo Tiara, it was originally purchased by the Queen’s father and eventually passed down to Queen Elizabeth. The Queen wasn’t just about the glitz and glam, however.
The Queen actually preferred that the family exchange silly gifts at Christmas rather than extravagant items. We can only imagine what Kate gave the Queen! Judging by photos snapped by paparazzi, the Christmas shenanigans only brought them closer.
Getting along swimmingly
The pair often sat next to each other at events and were seen laughing and having a good time together. Clearly, they got along — and a unique item that Kate wore to a Buckingham Palace State Dinner in 2018 put their respect for each other on display.
Affixed to Kate’s gown was the badge of the royal family order of Queen Elizabeth II. This is a rare item to see on a royal, since the Queen only gave the award to members of her family in honor of exemplary service.
Above and beyond
Still, the ivory badge of the royal family wasn’t the most prestigious award that a family member could receive from the Queen. In April 2019, the Queen had something special in mind for Kate, and it blew the honorable ivory badge out of the water.
Royal Victorian Order
For Kate’s 8th wedding anniversary, the Queen presented her with the Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order. This may not sound like a big deal, but its history makes it one of the most prestigious awards that one can get.
A prestigious honor
The Royal Victorian Order all started with — as you may have guessed — Queen Victoria herself. These awards were made personally by the Queen for “services to the sovereign,” so it’s a high honor. And for Kate especially, this award has a more significant meaning.
Private lessons for a queen
Kate will one day become queen consort, also known as the wife of the king — as Camilla Parker Bowles did in 2022. If it seems like Kate is buried in responsibilities today, this will only increase when she becomes queen consort. And because of this, Queen Elizabeth apparently started meeting with Kate in secret.
Juggling her responsibilities
It’s believed that she did so in order to train Kate for her future queenly duties. Though Kate will never have to make any political or military decisions, the younger woman will be under an astounding amount of pressure from the public and the royal family.
Bearing the weight
Not only will her status be elevated, but she’ll have to deal with ceremonial duties that are specific to the queen consort. This is a lot on anyone's shoulders — and a royal source let the public in on how those secret meetings were going.
An insider perspective
“She’s really taken Kate under her wing,” the source said at the time. “The two of them will often spend hours discussing royal life and the future of the monarchy.” Their friendship, it seems, went further than a badge, award, or sash could ever relay.
A bright future
It didn’t take lavish gifts or honorable titles to see how proud the Queen was of Kate’s accomplishments. If anyone ever doubted Kate’s ability to lead, the Queen’s honor of the Royal Victorian Order was firm proof that the monarchy is in good hands.