Clergyman pleaded with Palace to let Elton John sing at Princess Diana’s funeral

The Dean of Westminster personally appealed to Buckingham Palace to allow Sir Elton John to sing Candle In The Wind at the funeral of Princess Diana.

The musician’s performance was one of the most memorable moments of the service for the Princess of Wales at her funeral on 6 September 1997.

However, papers released by the National Archives have now suggested there was some resistance to the plan for Sir Elton to perform the song, which had some of its lyrics rewritten for the performance.

The palace reportedly even had a saxophonist on standby to deliver a rendition of the song, should it be decided that Elton John wasn’t allowed to perform.

But the Dean of Westminster personally appealed to make sure that the singer-songwriter performed arguing it would be “imaginative and generous” to the millions feeling “personally bereaved”.

Candle In The Wind was originally written about Marilyn Monroe, however, the lyrics of the Elton John song were re-written for the funeral and included the opening line “Goodbye England's rose, May you ever grow in our hearts”, instead of the original “Goodbye, Norma Jeane / Though I never knew you at all”.

“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, reports the Daily Mail.

“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."

The Dean of Westminster continued: "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.”

Two thousand people attended Princess Diana’s funeral at Westminster Abbey and an estimated 2.5 billion people watched the ceremony worldwide, making it one of the most-watched televised events in history.

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