Elton John Will Never Do This One Thing in Front of Prince William and Prince Harry

Elton John is known not just for his iconic hits such as “Tiny Dancer” and “Your Song” but his friendship with the late Princess Diana. The two reconciled after a feud only weeks before Princess Diana’s passing in 1997 and now the musician worth an estimated $500 million has opened up about the one thing he’ll never do in front of the royal’s sons, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. 

What Elton John won’t do in front of Princes William and Harry

In an interview with Billboard published on Nov. 14, 2019, John, known for his extravagant looks on stage, revealed he will never do one thing in front of Princess Diana’s sons and that is sing “Candle in the Wind.” 

“Other than at Princess Diana’s funeral, I’ve never, ever played it in front of Prince William or Prince Harry,” John said. “Even the Marilyn Monroe version, I wouldn’t play it in front of them.”

Elton John, Prince William, and Prince Harry iin 2007
Elton John with Prince Harry and Prince William on July 1, 2007 | Edmond Terakopian/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

The 72-year-old called the reimagined version of the song “a memento of grief and love to her [Princess Diana]” and added that he didn’t sing it for a few years in concert because “it was too close to home.” 

Song not originally about Diana

John first recorded “Candle in the Wind” in 1973. He and his writing partner Bernie Taupin wrote it as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe who died in 1962. After being asked to perform at Princess Diana’s funeral, John reworked the lyrics to suit his friend, changing the words “Goodbye Norma Jean” — Monroe’s real name — to “Goodbye England’s rose” among others. 

In his 2019 autobiography, Me: Elton John, the singer reflected on his memorable performance at Princess Diana’s funeral. He wrote that it had been completely possible that he’d accidentally sing the original lyrics to the song instead of the new ones. 

“I’d performed Candle in The Wind hundreds of times. It wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility that I might lose myself in the performance, forget about the teleprompter and start singing the original lyrics,” he wrote. “How bad would it be if I did that? Appalling. Huge chunks of the lyrics were completely inappropriate for the occasion.”

He only listened to the song once

For 14 weeks the funeral version of “Candle in the Wind” topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts but as John revealed in his book, he felt the mourning “got out of hand” and only listened to the song once. 

“Under what circumstances would you play it? I never did,” he wrote. “I listened back to it once at the studio to OK the mix and that was it: never again.”

Another thing he revealed in his book is that he didn’t understand why the song became so popular because to him it seemed “morbid and unnatural.” 

“There was part of me that couldn’t understand why anyone would want to listen to it. It seemed unhealthy to me: morbid and unnatural,” he wrote. “I really didn’t think it was what Diana would have wanted.”

John is currently on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour and we suspect “Candle in the Wind” isn’t on his setlist.