Princess Diana’s celebrity friends

Princess Diana — who died 20 years ago this week, on Aug. 31, 1997 — was very much beloved by the famous, too. In fact, she formed friendships with more than a few of them. Here’s a look back at Di sharing quality time with her celebrity pals.

Liza Minnelli

The famous entertainer’s close friendship with Diana (they met at one of Minnelli’s concerts) set the stage for a photo that captured the princess in a rare moment, as a woman chatting with her girlfriend. The duo was at the 1991 premiere of Minnelli’s movie Stepping Out that night, but they also met for lunches and tea. “All my life,” the daughter of Judy Garland reportedly said, “I’ve had bowing and scraping. I haven’t encouraged it. That’s just how it’s been. Well, Princess Di got pretty used to people bowing and scraping. So it was a relief to both of us that we could just be ourselves around each other.” (Photo: Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Michael Jackson

Princess Diana was a huge music fan, and she was thrilled to meet the King of Pop when he performed at London’s Wembley Stadium on his Bad tour in 1988. Afterwards, they began talking over the phone, mostly late at night for him, and bonded over their disdain for the tabloids. “We could relate to each other,” he said in the 2003 TV doc Michael Jackson’s Private Home Movies. “We shared something in common with the press. I don’t think they hounded any one more than her and myself.” He added that they would “cry on each other’s shoulders.” (Photo: Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Elton John

John was so close to Diana that her sister asked him to perform at her funeral, and he did so, famously revising his lyrics to “Candle in the Wind” to be about his late friend, with proceeds from the song going to her charitable foundation. Sadly, Diana had sat by John’s side just two months earlier at the funeral for designer Gianni Versace. “Me playing at the funeral was one of the most surreal things I have ever done,” he recalled in a 2008 VH1 documentary. John remains friends with Diana’s sons, and he was in the audience as Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011. (Photo: AP Photo/Rota/Pool)

Freddie Mercury

The Queen singer and the royal were both part of an amazing evening in the late ’80s, when — get this — Diana disguised herself in a military jacket, a hat, and sunglasses on an outing to a gay bar in a London. As British comedian Cleo Rocos wrote in her 2013 memoir, The Power of Positive Drinking, the three of them were convinced their “male model” companion would be outed as Diana, but she wasn’t. Mercury and Diana were “giggling” and acting like “naughty schoolchildren,” Rocos recalled. (Photo: Getty Images)

George Michael

In a 1997 interview just after Diana’s death, the singer talked about how much he was “blubbering” at her funeral. “I was so upset because I did really like Diana. I met her maybe a dozen times and I always had a laugh with her and I really admired her,” he said. “I thought she was so great not to be consumed by everything that had happened to her and to keep giving and giving. I thought she was a really great person — the Elvis of compassion.” He also said that he regretted having not been closer to her. After all, she was the only one who made him feel “like an ordinary person.” (Photo: TIM GRAHAM/Getty Images)

John Travolta

So Diana and Travolta weren’t really friends, but they did share an iconic moment, on the evening of Nov. 9, 1985, when both were guests at a White House dinner and not by accident. People reported at the time that Travolta had been invited as part of first lady Nancy Reagan’s plan to show the royal a good time. “When the music from your movie comes up, if you wouldn’t mind just asking her if she’d care to dance,'” Travolta recalled FLOTUS asking him. He did and they did “spins and turns” and what he called a “modern fox-trot” to “You Should Be Dancing” and “Disco Inferno.” Is there anything more ’80s than that? (Photo: Ronald Reagan Library/AP)

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn

Diana met Russell in 1991 at the London premiere of his movie Backdraft, and, over the course of the evening, offered to shield her from the paparazzi at his Colorado property, if she ever needed it. “I said, ‘Come over to the ranch. We have a good long driveway and it’s hard for the paparazzi to get in there,” the actor recalled on Australia’s The Project in January 2016. “Years later Fergie [Duchess of York], who Goldie knows, worked it out. I guess Diana wanted to come and stay with the boys and they were welcomed, so they came and stayed for 10 days at the ranch and had a great time.” Russell wasn’t home during their stay, but noted that Diana became “very close” with his housekeeper and sent her a Christmas card every year afterward. (Photo: Getty Images)

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