Elton John Says Prince Harry Has Inherited Princess Diana’s Warmth, Sense of Humor, Courage

Prince Harry was named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People” today, along with his wife, Meghan Markle. None other than Sir Elton John wrote his tribute.

John has been a friend of the royals since the 1970s. Even before he grew close with Princess Diana, he was admired by Princess Margaret and The Queen. He was known to accompany Margaret to various art events and would attend Charles’s Prince Trust annual concerts.

Elton John and Prince Harry | Michael Kovac/Getty Images for EJAF
Elton John and Prince Harry | Michael Kovac/Getty Images for EJAF

Then in 1981, he met Princess Diana at Windsor Castle.

Elton John’s friendship with Princess Diana

“[I was] playing for Prince Andrew’s 21st birthday party at Windsor Castle,” he told his biographer Philip Norman, who recounted the story to the Vancouver Sun. “When I arrived, there was no one there but the dance band and Princess Diana. We danced the Charleston alone on the floor for 20 minutes.”

And so their friendship was born.

But in 1997, John did something that Diana deemed unforgivable… almost. He, along with Gianni Versace, released a book called Rock and Royalty. The coffee table book featured photos of royal family members, including Princess Diana and the boys, next to photos of semi-nude male models. Book royalties went to John’s AIDS Foundation, according to Harper’s Bazaar.

Diana and John didn’t speak for months but reconciled after the death of Versace.

“Gianni Versace was murdered [on July 15, 1997], and then Diana rang me up and we reconciled. And six weeks later, I’m in the same house, and she’s dead. It was an extraordinary and mesmerizing summer, and I just couldn’t believe what was going on,” John said in an interview with Lorraine.

Elton John’s ‘100 Most Influential People’ tribute to Prince Harry

John begins his tribute to Harry by recalling the moment they first met, and how shy the young Harry was.

“I first met an extremely shy and sweet Prince Harry at a private lunch at Kensington Palace, given by his mother Princess Diana for Gianni Versace and me many years ago,” he writes.

He goes on to describe how Harry’s begun to embody certain characteristics of his mother, including her passion and involvement in organizations she believed in.

“What a joy it has been to see that young boy grow to inherit his mother’s warmth, sense of humor and courage to stand up and champion the causes he truly believes in.

Harry and I have bonded over a passionate desire to end the global AIDS epidemic, a disease for which his mother did so much important early work to fight stigma and build awareness.

He is equally passionate when it comes to reducing the stigma surrounding mental-health issues—blowing a much-needed breath of fresh air into the British stuffiness that has kept vital conversations lurking in the shadows.

The Invictus Games are his creation, and they give dignity and hope to injured armed services personnel and veterans by offering a spectacular and inspirational global competition in sport.”

John ends his touching note to Harry by complimenting him on his “rare ability to walk into a room full of strangers and make everyone feel comfortable and at ease.” Just like his mother.

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