Files reveal Buckingham Palace didn't want Elton John to sing 'Candle in the Wind' at Princess Diana's funeral

Publish Date
Friday, 14 January 2022, 9:54AM

Perhaps the most memorable moment of Princess Diana's funeral on September 6, 1997, was Elton John's tear-jerking performance of 'Candle in the Wind.'

However, it turns out this pivotal moment in history almost didn't happen.

According to files released by the UK National Archives, Buckingham Palace had pushed back against John's performance, as certain members of the royal household believed the song was too "sentimental" for the service.

According to the BBC, it wasn't until the Dean of Westminster Abbey, the Very Reverend Dr Wesley Carr, intervened that the decision was made to allow the performance to proceed.

Writing to the Palace, he said that having John sing at the service would be "imaginative and generous," and would help the millions of people who felt "personally bereaved" by the Princess’ tragic death.

Carr urged "boldness" and the "inclusion of something of the modern world that the princess represented" in the service.

If Rocket Man was a no-go, the files show that the backup plan was to have a saxophone player perform a solo.

After singing the song at the funeral, the 74-year-old went straight into the studio and recorded 'Candle in the Wind 1997' as a charity single.

The song - which has sold over 33 million copies worldwide - entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest-selling single since the music charts began, a record it still holds till this day.

John has never performed the song since and says he never will unless Princes William and Harry ask him to.