How does a small, Colorado-based nonprofit attract an internationally famous name like Prince Harry to an in-person event? One way would be to give him an award, the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy proved Friday night. That’s when the 25-year-old organization with the stated goal of interesting kids aged 3-9 in flying named the Duke of Sussex a “Living Legend of Aviation” at a Beverly Hills ceremony that boasted John Travolta as a host.
The award wasn’t a surprise: Kiddie Hawk had announced Harry’s honor last week, and promised that William Shatner, Kenny G, and Kurt Russell would also be in attendance. It’s unclear from media coverage of the evening if those luminaries showed, but one star was conspicuous in her absence: Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle, told UK newswire PA that “one of their children became unwell,” Hello reports.
It’s unknown if it was Prince Archie or Princess Lilibet who fell ill, but the issue was apparently minor enough that Harry still felt comfortable attending the modest charity event. In a video from the ceremony that was posted to Instagram, we see Travolta—the nonprofit’s “Official Ambassador of Aviation”—place a medal around the royal’s neck in acknowledgment of his ten years of military service and creation of the veterans-supporting Invictus Games.
“Thank you, Captain John,” Harry said to Travolta. “I was one year old when you danced with my mum.” The crack was a follow-up to Travolta’s opening remarks at the ceremony, in which, per Hello, the actor brought up his iconic 1985 White House dance with Princess Diana.
From the stage, Harry joked that Travolta would continue “dining out on that” moment, then said “But look at us now, it’s great! So if we’re not going to dance together, we’ll fly together.”
Also celebrated at the event was Lauren Sanchez, the media reporter turned philanthropist and aviation business owner who also happens to be engaged to billionaire Jeff Bezos. Unlike Harry’s “Living Legend” status, Sanchez received the “Elling Halvorson Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award.” Via Instagram, Sanchez said that the honor thrilled her father, “who has been a pilot since I was a little girl.”
But unlike Sanchez, who posed for numerous photos on the event’s red carpet, Harry kept his arrival on the q.t. He snuck into the Beverly Hilton hotel via its back doors, Hello reports. With two tours in Afghanistan and training as an armored reconnaissance troop leader, a covert and solo operation into a cushy SoCal hotel was a likely walk in the park.