Lauren Sanchez gushed about Prince Harry after meeting him at an awards show – saying he was part of a group “that shaped the history and future of flying.”
Sanchez, 54, praised the royal effusively in an Instagram post following the Living Legends of Aviation gala, in a photo in which she and Harry appeared alongside John Travolta and Sanchez's Treasury Secretary Jeff Bezos.
Sanchez, a successful helicopter pilot, wrote: “I am honored to have been in the presence of aviation legends who shaped the history and future of flight.”
Harry previously served as a British Army helicopter pilot in Afghanistan.
Although Harry hadn't piloted a plane for almost a decade, he was presented with an award by movie star and jumbo jet pilot John Travolta declaring him a “living legend of aviation.”
While she praised Harry in the caption, she may also have been referring to her fiancé Jeff Bezos, who is worth $174 billion and owns a space exploration company called Blue Origin.
Sánchez praised the prince after she was also among those named at the 21st annual Living Legends of Aviation awards ceremony for having “significantly influenced” both the history and future of flying.
Prince Harry is seen on the left alongside John Travolta, Lauren Sanchez and Jeff Bezos. “It is an honor to be in the presence of aviation legends who have shaped the history and future of flight,” she wrote
Lauren Sánchez runs her own helicopter aerial photography business, while John Travolta has been a pilot for many years and has an airstrip attached to his home
Sánchez, who runs an aerial photography company, was seen walking the red carpet alone before joining billionaire Bezos backstage, where she posted a black-and-white photo of herself with her boyfriend Bezos, John Travolta and the Duke of Sussex was seen all smiles at the awards ceremony.
“What a beautiful evening last night. “So grateful,” she later wrote.
Bezos joined the organization in 2019 after founding his spaceship company Blue Origin, which sends its occupants 65 miles straight to the edge of space.
Sánchez herself was hailed as a “living legend” for her work as a helicopter pilot and was honored with the Elling Halvorson Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award and an Aeronautical Entrepreneur Award at the ceremony.
She owns the aviation film company Black Ops Aviation, which she founded in 2016.
Lauren Sanchez, 54, was also celebrated as a living legend for her work as a helicopter pilot
Lauren Sanchez, who founded an aerial photography company in 2016, was also celebrated Friday night
Lauren Sánchez can be seen at the controls of one of their helicopters
Lauren Sánchez runs an aviation film company and is known for piloting her own plane
Sanchez can be seen at the controls of one of their helicopters
“The Living Legends of Aviation is pleased to announce that Lauren Sanchez will receive the Elling Halvorson Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award at the 21st Annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards,” the institution wrote in announcing the award last month.
“From Emmy Award-winning journalist to helicopter pilot and aviation entrepreneur, Lauren Sánchez’s achievements in aviation and her unwavering commitment to advancing women in the industry inspire us all.”
Speaking to her own television crew, Sánchez shared how “thrilled” she was about the award and pointed out that there was “only time” before another woman was accepted into the organization.
There are currently fewer than 10 female members.
“I just can’t believe it!!!” said Sánchez. “What a great honor it is to be recognized by the Living Legends of Aviation.” Flying is my passion and this is truly a great honor. “You also have no idea how happy you made my father, who has been a pilot since I was a child.”
As for the Prince, the question was raised before the party as to whether the Duke deserved to be called a “living legend of aviation.”
Harry's award ceremony described him as a “humanist, military veteran, mental health advocate and environmentalist” and added: “He has dedicated his life to causes close to his heart that create lasting change.”
Travolta, a pilot himself, was reportedly the driving force behind Harry receiving the award after he felt an affinity for the prince after dancing with Diana – although the prince's nomination angered some military pilots who felt it was undeserving.
e Jeff Bezos is among those now being honored for their contribution to aviation
Hollywood superstar John Travolta waves from the cockpit window of his Boeing 707
Travolta has a deep passion for flying and is known for owning and piloting his own aircraft
You can see John Travolta's house and his Boeing 707 plane parked next to it
Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, before the rocket's maiden voyage at the New Shepard launch facility in West Texas
Mark Bezos (right) throws ping pong balls with his crew member Oliver Daemen (left) during the July 2021 spaceflight on Blue Origin's first manned mission
Jeff Bezos is among those now being honored for their contribution to aviation
The billionaire reached the edge of space after launching on Blue Origin's first manned flight
Billionaire businessman Jeff Bezos launches with three crew members aboard a New Shepard rocket for the world's first unmanned suborbital flight from Blue Origin's Launch Site 1 near Van Horn, Texas, in July 2021
On stage, Travolta asked him about his time as an Army aviator: “What do you remember about your first flight?”
Harry quipped back, “It's secret.”
The Duke served in the military for ten years, rising to the rank of captain and completing two tours in Afghanistan as a forward air traffic controller and Apache helicopter pilot.
Lord Alan West, a former head of the Royal Navy, had poured cold water on the award.
“He is not a living legend of aviation.” To suggest that he is is pathetic. It makes the whole thing seem a bit nonsense.'
Colonel Richard Kemp, a retired British Army officer, said the ceremony was more about “celebrities massaging each other's egos.”
As Harry accepted his award, he spoke of his pride in his military career
Harry is seen working as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan in December 2012
Harry is pictured standing in front of an Apache helicopter in March 2011, a few days after the king passed the half-decade milestone to become a captain in the British Army
The prince is seen arriving at the event on Friday in Los Angeles
The 39-year-old attended the awards ceremony without his wife Meghan Markle. She was reportedly at home caring for her children, one of whom had become ill
As Harry accepted his award, he spoke of his pride in his military career.
“For me, flying was a transcendent experience. A close encounter with magic, an invitation to both protect freedom… and feel free; and, oddly enough, an opportunity to ground yourself without actually being grounded,” Harry said.
He spoke movingly of his earlier career, saying: “I had respect for the Apache in hover and was in awe of its night flight… so many moments as a pilot when you feel like you're walking through the air.”
“And in every flight throughout my military career, the one constant has always been trust.” Trust in the aircraft, trust in my fellow soldiers, trust in my many mentors and, most importantly, trust in myself. When flying, I have the power of discipline “The power of patience and, beyond that, the power of trusting your gut feeling.”
He received a standing ovation from the audience for his words.