Princess Diana was a hero to many in the gay community thanks to her groundbreaking hospital visits to patients dying of AIDS (it seems hard to believe now, but Diana shocked the world with her compassion by simply holding hands with a stricken victim while the cameras were rolling), but it seems her fondness for the gay community extended to gay nightlife. For a new book reveals that Diana, dressed in a military jacket, dark shades and policeman's hat, once visited a gay bar with the Queen singer Freddie Mercury.
The extraordinary claim was made yesterday in a new book, The Power of Positive Drinking, by the 80's British TV star and model Cleo Rocos, who went on the jaunt with Diana, Mercury and a British comedian named Kenny Everett.
No, this is not an April Fool story.
Cleo Rocos, who co-starred in The Kenny Everett Television Show, reveals in the book, serialised in the Sunday Times yesterday, how she, Mercury and Everett dressed Diana in an army jacket, black cap and sunglasses before venturing into the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in south London.
“When we walked in . . . we felt she was obviously Princess Diana and would be discovered at any minute. But people just seemed to blank her. She sort of disappeared. But she loved it,” Rocos says.
The venue was packed, but the presence of Mercury, Everett and Rocos helped divert attention and Diana was able to order drinks at the bar before the group left, 20 minutes later.
Di was delighted when she was served in the bar without being recognised.
The trip to the gay bar came after a boozy afternoon which the four spent drinking champagne in front of reruns of The Golden Girls with the sound turned down.
They improvised the characters’ voices — “but with a much naughtier storyline," Rocos writes.
Di asked about their plans for the evening.
They said they were going to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in South London.
Rocos, now 50, recalled: “Kenny said, ‘It’s not for you. It’s full of hairy gay men. Sometimes there are fights outside.’
“We pleaded, ‘What would be the headline if you were caught in a gay bar brawl?’
“But Diana was in full mischief mode. Freddie said, ‘Go on, let the girl have some fun’.
Diana put on what Everett had planned to wear and the four caught a cab.
Rocos says in book: “She did look like a beautiful young man. She was always a very fit girl, so they might have thought, ‘There’s a nice young man with pert buttocks’.”
The following day Di had the clothes courriered back with a note ending: “We must do it again!"
The night out is thought to have taken place in 1988, when her marriage to Prince Charles was on the rocks.
Freddie Mercury died of Aids-related pneumonia aged 45 in 1991, and Everett from an Aids-related illness aged 50 in 1995.