Princess Diana secretly attended gay bar party disguised as drag queen with longtime friend Freddie Mercury, reveals memoir

While Royal Vauxhall was known for its rough crowd and bar fights, and the media would have a field day if they caught Diana there, the princess was persistent

Princess Diana secretly attended gay bar party disguised as drag queen with longtime friend Freddie Mercury, reveals memoir

While Queen's rock music is widely regarded by millions of fans across the globe as a passport to a world with zero judgment and catchy chants, Princess Diana considered their music as a literal escape into a different world, one that included drag queens, reruns of 'Golden Girls', and gay bars, Yahoo reports.

Back in the mid-'80s, when "People's Princess" Diana's every move was heavily monitored by the media, she became close friends with Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. He and the princess were sipping champagne and watching reruns of 'Golden Girls' at the home of comedian Kenny Everett one evening, according to a memoir by actress Cleo Racos titled 'The Power of Positive Drinking'. During that evening, the trio created their own subplots for the sitcom with a "much naughtier storyline".

The Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997, later Diana, Princess of Wales) at Aintree racecourse for the Grand National, 3rd April 1982. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997, later Diana, Princess of Wales) at Aintree racecourse for the Grand National, 3rd April 1982. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Later that night, Princess Diana asked if she could tag along for a trip to the infamous gay bar Royal Vauxhall Tavern when she found out the group's next plan. While Royal Vauxhall was known for its rough crowd and bar fights, and the media would have a field day if they caught Diana in the middle of a brawl in a gay bar, the princess was persistent. Mercury, who was skeptical about the plan at first, later said: "Go on, let the girl have some fun."

"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," said Rocos, who co-starred in Everett's television show.

Singer Freddie Mercury (1946 - 1991) of British rock band Queen attends a ballet class in Covent Garden, London, 3rd October 1979. (Photo by Colin Davey/Evening Standard/Getty Images)
Singer Freddie Mercury (1946 - 1991) of British rock band Queen attends a ballet class in Covent Garden, London, 3rd October 1979. (Photo by Colin Davey/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

They came up with an idea: Diana would disguise herself in the drag costume Everett had planned to wear that night. She was dressed in aviator glasses, a leather cap, and an army jacket, making her look like a "rather eccentrically dressed gay male model," according to Rocos' description of her attire.

The group's plan was a roaring success. Princess Diana comfortably made her way to the bar, sipped on white wine and beer, and enjoyed her freedom for the entire 20 minutes they stayed before she returned to her residence in Kensington Palace. The crowd was so enamored by Mercury, Everett, and Rocos that they didn't notice her movements at all.

Diana's escapade later received the theater treatment in 2016 with the musical The Royal Vauxhall, aptly named after and performed at the bar where one of her brief royal adventures took place.

British rock group Queen in concert, from left to right; Freddie Mercury (Frederick Bulsara, 1946 - 1991), John Deacon, and Brian May. (Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)
British rock group Queen in concert, from left to right; Freddie Mercury (Frederick Bulsara, 1946 - 1991), John Deacon, and Brian May. (Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

While Diana remained close friends with Mercury until the latter's tragic death from AIDS in 1991, she would later become a patron of the National AIDS Trust following the tragic event and dedicate her efforts to promote the awareness and prevention of HIV and AIDS. Princess Diana was invited to open the UK's first AIDS ward in 1987, where she was photographed shaking hands with AIDS patients and brazenly challenging the flawed notion that the dreaded disease could be passed on by human touch.

Diana, the former wife of the heir to the British throne Prince Charles, died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. However, the legacies of the late princess and Mercury will be remembered for ages to come, especially the one glorious night of freedom the duo shared.