The queen of country music is getting the royal treatment! Dolly Parton revealed that she recently had to decline an invitation from Princess Kate due to her busy schedule. 

“This time, Lordy, I even got invited to have tea with Kate,” Dolly, 77, confessed in an August 26 radio interview. “And I felt so bad, I couldn’t even — cause they had all the stuff set up. But I thought that was very sweet and nice of her to invite me to tea, and one of these days I’m going to be able to get to do that.”

In late June, Dolly traveled to London to promote her new rock album, Rockstar. In between her latest music release and business ventures, Dolly’s days are often jam-packed with appearances and working on projects.

“It would’ve been great,” Dolly reflected on potentially meeting Kate, 41, before joking, “But she wasn’t going to promote my rock album, so I had to say no.”

Despite being unable to attend tea with the royals this time, Dolly is optimistic that the opportunity will present itself again in the future. “That would be great,” she enthusiastically added.

This wasn’t the first time Dolly received a coveted royal invitation. In 1977, the Steel Magnolias actress met Queen Elizabeth II backstage at the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

“I remember as a child being fascinated with the kings and queens and all their flamboyant clothes, people living in another world with riches and crowns and jewelry and all that,” Dolly recalled. “But when I actually got to meet her, she was very sweet.”

Dolly Parton wears black leather outfit
GC Images/GC Images

Initially, Dolly’s management team did not tell her she would be performing in front of the queen. 

“When they told me on the plane I was appearing in front of the queen, I just jumped up and down telling everyone,” Dolly reflected. “It’s just one of the biggest thrills of my life.” 

Dolly explained why she was nervous about following royal protocol during the interaction.

“I was scared to death that I was not going to know how to curtsy, that I wasn’t going to bend right, but she was just very warm, very sweet and I could tell she was a very giving person,” she said. “And just meeting the Queen of England, just to meet a queen, it was amazing.”

Elizabeth died on September 8, 2022, at age 96. King Charles III succeeded her on the throne. Dolly remembered Elizabeth as a pillar of “grace and strength” after her passing.