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Buckingham Palace Tried To Stop Elton John From Performing Candle

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While Elton John’s performance of Candle in the Wind became one of the most memorable moments of Princess Diana’s funeral, it almost never happened, all thanks to Buckingham Palace.

As you may know, the 74-year-old singer-songwriter originally wrote the song in memory of Marilyn Monroe following her passing in 1962. He later reworked the lyrics with his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin in order to perform it at his close friend’s funeral in 1997. John notably changed the first line from “Goodbye, Norma Jean” to “Goodbye, England’s rose” in the track.

But papers from the UK National Archives, which were obtained by Sky News, revealed that senior members of the royal household attempted to shut down the special moment! Why? According to the documents, they thought the updated lyrics were “too sentimental” for the occasion.

Related: Sarah Ferguson Reveals How Princess Diana Would Feel About Meghan Markle

Seriously?!! It’s a funeral! If there was ever a time to get sentimental and emotional it’s then…

Apparently, the palace’s objections were so strong that Westminster Abbey even kept a saxophonist on standby just in case John wasn’t allowed to perform anymore. Wow! A first draft of the service also showed the artist performing Your Song, but it was listed as Our Song instead.

However, the Very Reverend Dr. Wesley Carr, the then-Dean of Westminster Abbey, begged the royals in a personal note to reconsider their stance on the matter, saying:

“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. 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 added, arguing that the song captured the heartbroken mood of the nation at the time:

“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.”

Ultimately, Buckingham Palace allowed the musician to honor his late friend with the new version of Candle in the Wind. You can listen to the song (below):

According to People, Elton later reflected on the prominent moment of his career, expressing:

“There was a sense in which it was the biggest gig of my life – for four minutes, I was literally going to be the center of the world’s attention – but equally, it wasn’t an Elton John moment, it wasn’t about me at all.”


What are your reactions to the palace attempting to stop Elton from performing the number? Let us know in the comments (below).

[Image via Anwar Hussein/ WENN, WENN]

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