Buckingham Palace did not want Elton John to sing ‘Candle In The Wind’ at Princess Diana’s funeral, according to newly released government documents.
Despite going on to sell 33 million copies and being one of the most memorable moments of her funeral in September 1997, there was resistance in the royal household to the idea, with concerns that the new lyrics to the song were “too sentimental”, reports Sky News.
Westminster Abbey had to even put a solo saxophonist on standby to perform the song, just in case Buckingham Palace refused to allow John to perform.
But the Dean of Westminster personally appealed to ensure that the singer-songwriter performed arguing it would be “imaginative and generous” to the millions feeling “personally bereaved”.
“This is a crucial point in the service and we would urge boldness. It is where the unexpected happens and something of the modern world that the princess represented,” The Very Rev Dr Wesley Carr wrote.
“I respectfully suggest that anything classical or choral (even a popular classic such as something by Lloyd Webber) is inappropriate. Better would be the enclosed song by Elton John (known to millions and his music was enjoyed by the princess), which would be powerful.
“He has written new words to the tune which is being widely played and sung throughout the nation in memorial to Diana. It is all the time on the radio. Its use here would be imaginative and generous to the millions who are feeling personally bereaved: it is popular culture at its best.
“If it were thought the words too sentimental (although that is by no means a bad thing given the national mood), they need not be printed – only sung.”
John went on to perform the track live in front of millions.
John also recently featured on LadBaby’s Christmas Number One single ‘Sausage Rolls For Everyone’ alongside Ed Sheeran.