Princess Diana may have been a noted fan of Eagles gear back in the 1990s, but her eye for Philly sports fashion apparently didn’t extend to the actor behind one of our most iconic sports figures.
Or, at least that’s what Elton John says.
In a newly published excerpt from his upcoming memoir Me, John runs down a ’90s dinner party during which Princess Diana turned down flirty advances from Sylvester Stallone — Rocky himself — in favor of some time with Pretty Woman star Richard Gere.
Rough for Stallone, but Philly wins either way here. While Gere was raised in New York, he is actually technically a Philadelphia native, having been born at Presbyterian Hospital in 1949. His father, the Inquirer reports, was a business student at the University of Pennsylvania, and Gere’s family left town when he was a toddler.
At the time of John’s party, Princess Diana was newly single following her separation from Prince Charles, and Gere was fresh off his breakup with supermodel Cindy Crawford. The pair, John writes, were “very taken with each other” — a fact that was “not going down well with Sylvester Stallone at all.”
“I think he may have turned up to the party with the express intention of picking Diana up, only to find his plans for the evening ruined,” John writes.
By the time dinner was served, the situation had reached a head. While the rest of the guests — which included pop star George Michael and writer-director Richard Curtis (Love Actually) — made their way to the dining room of John’s mansion, Gere and Stallone were nowhere to be found.
Eventually, however, John’s now-husband, David Furnish, found the pair alone in a hallway “about to settle their differences over Diana by having a fist-fight.” Furnish, John says, calmed the situation by acting as if he hadn’t noticed the brewing tussle, and encouraging them to join the rest of the group.
That bravado apparently didn’t help Stallone with Princess Di, who again ended up in “gazing raptly at” Gere by a fireplace following dinner. The Italian Stallion, meanwhile, “stormed off home.”
“‘I never would have come,’ he snapped, as David and I showed him the door, ‘if I’d known Prince [expletive] Charming was gonna be here,” John writes. “Then he added ‘If I’d wanted her, I would’ve taken her!’”
While Stallone sadly didn’t get in Princess Diana’s good graces, a few years later he did find lasting love with model Jennifer Flavin. The pair married in 1997 and are still together.
Princess Di’s interest in the Birds, meanwhile, began during the 1982 funeral for Philly’s own Grace Kelly. At that event, she connected with Eagles statistician Jack Edelstein, who later arranged a shipment of some Birds clothing for Princess Di.
Today, just about every Eagles fan is familiar with the famous shot of Princess Diana sporting a Kelly green varsity-style Eagles Jacket. But, as Andrew Morton, a British journalist and authority on the royal family, told the Daily News back in 1991, her wearing Eagles clothing doesn’t mean she’s a fan, exactly.
“She wears these things because they create a look. She knows very little about English sports, let alone American teams,” Morton said. Still, between the Eagles gear and Richard Gere, we’re going to consider Princess Diana one of us.