The Real Reason Dolly Parton Rejected An Invitation From Kate Middleton

Dolly Parton and Kate Middleton may have more in common than you would think. Not only do they both have a keen sense of style, but they also have an avid interest in young children and their education. Parton's international program, the Imagination Library,  mails free books to kids under 5 years old and aims to inspire them to love reading. On the website, Parton stated, "Inspiring kids to love to read became my mission." As for Catherine, the Princess of Wales, she has a special interest in early childhood development. She launched the Shaping Us campaign which addresses children's social and emotional needs during their early years. Middleton said, "This isn't just about raising kids. It's about shaping our futures." Both women use their platforms to help causes that they're passionate about, and are very successful at what they do. 

The "Jolene" hitmaker was in the U.K. during the summer of 2023, much to the delight of her fans. She was promoting her album, "Rockstar," which showcased a different side to her talent. For the first time in her career, she recorded a rock album (inspired by her husband Carl Dean) and did the press tour rounds in England. Apparently, the princess learned of Parton's visit to Great Britain and decided that a little tete-a-tete may be in order. However, Parton declined the royal invitation and did not see Middleton despite the fact that she had reached out to her team. What would Dolly do instead?

Dolly Parton said no to royal tea

While in London, Dolly Parton was promoting her rock album "Rockstar" on BBC Radio 2. The show's host Claudia Winkleman wanted to know if she would be able to take some time to see the city. Parton shared, per the Independent, "I love the people, the feel of London. I don't unfortunately [get time to sightsee]. I have in the past, me and my band, in a tour bus when we have it planned." However, this time around, her team had her on a tight schedule and she could not veer from her obligations. She then told Winkleman that she even declined an invitation from Kate Middleton because of her itinerary. "This time, Lordy, I even got invited to have tea with Kate but I couldn't even go. I thought it was very sweet and nice of her to invite me and one of these days I'm going to get to do that — that would be great." Parton then cracked a joke, saying that she couldn't have tea with Middleton because the princess was not going to promote her new album. 

Of course, the Princess of Wales knows something about hectic schedules. People reported that even while she and Prince William made a conscious decision to pare back their royal commitments during their kids' school breaks, they still continued working behind the scenes, as William joined a call to thank Canadian firefighters during the October 2023 break. 

Dolly Parton is done touring

Tea with Kate Middleton isn't the only thing Dolly Parton has vetoed. The grand dame of country music has made it clear that she will never tour an album again. Her priorities have shifted since she released her first single, "Puppy Love," in 1959, and six decades on, she is bearing the fruit of her hard labor. 

While at a London press conference in June 2023, she explained her decision, per The Standard, "The reason I don't tour now is because I don't want to be that far away from home. You know, we're getting older my husband and I." Parton's husband, Carl Dean, had his 81st birthday in July, while she celebrated her 77th birthday in January. The "9 to 5" actor went on to share some personal info, "I had to cancel [this visit to the U.K.] once and make it towards the end of the month because my husband was sick at the time. He's fine now, but you do plan. You make that out of wise choices and I do not plan to tour this album," she said. 

While Parton may have been all dolled up and nowhere to go when she had to postpone her travel arrangements, it's not the first time that she indicated that she was done with touring. In 2022, she told Pollstar, "I've done that [touring] my whole life, and it takes so much time and energy."