Why The Royal Family Originally Rejected Elton John’s Song At Princess Diana’s Funeral

While Elton John singing his updated version of “Candle in the Wind” at Princess Diana’s funeral back in 1997 is now iconic, it almost didn’t happen at all. It seems when the idea was first presented, the palace staff wanted to reject the idea for being “too sentimental.” There was said to be a saxophone player on backup to fill the spot, but they came around and changed their mind, noting it would be important to a public in mourning.

Candles and caskets

After the iconic Princess Diana passed away tragically in a car crash in Paris, Elton John famously reworked his “Candle in the Wind” song (which was originally written for Marilyn Monroe) to make it more about the current tragedy the world was experiencing. The opening line “Goodbye Norma Jean” was tweaked into “Goodbye England’s Rose”, and the rest is history.

But the royal family didn’t think the song was a good fit at first. Reverend Wesley Carr, then-Dean at Westminster Abbey, appealed directly to the royal. arguing the song would be “imaginative and generous” to the millions of people who felt “personally bereaved.”

The Legacy of the Song

They quickly realized that the song would be a fitting choice, not only for those who knew Lady Diana but also for those outsiders who were grieving. It was a song that had global appeal and was written by a star who is highly respected around the world. It was P.R at it’s best, truth to tell.

Although there was some hesitation in 1997 when the tragedy happened, the song has since become more famous and helped many people grieve. Although some may have viewed the reworking a song about a different person as lazy or in poor taste at first, it is clear that it has a long-lasting effect and power.

The weirdest part is that all of this all feels like it unfolded just a few years ago for many when in actuality it’s now been 25 years. The song went on to help cement Diana’s legacy as a kind and progressive woman who just wanted to make the world a gentler place and seemingly did.