Elvis Presley: The Real Reason He Never Performed for Queen Elizabeth

Throughout her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II had the chance to meet some of the most iconic entertainers in history. However, there was one who never had the opportunity to make her acquaintance, Elvis Presley. The King of Rock and Roll was asked to entertain the queen, but their meeting never came to fruition. What was the real reason Elvis Presley never performed for Queen Elizabeth?

Elvis Presley and Queen Elizabeth in side by side photographs.
Elvis Presley and Queen Elizabeth | GAB Archive/Redferns/Chris Jackson/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth had hundreds of audiences with celebrities

The late Queen of England met hundreds of celebrities at movie premieres, royal performances, and in certain situations where they crossed paths.

Some big names introduced to Queen Elizabeth II included Lady Gaga, The Beatles, David Bowie, Barbara Streisand, The Spice Girls, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Lopez, Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, and Hugh Jackman.

Several celebrities were also knighted by the queen for their work. These included Paul McCartney, Elton John, Michael Caine, and Bill Gates, who is an honorary knight as he is not a British citizen.

Awarded the title of Dame were Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Julie Andrews, Elizabeth Taylor, Helen Mirren, Anna Wintour, and Emma Thompson. Angelina Jolie was made an honorary dame for her humanitarian work and her fight to end war zone sexual violence.

Queen Elizabeth and Elvis Presley never met

Elvis Presley photographed in 1965.
Elvis Presley | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

On September 25, 1962, Elvis was invited to attend the 1962 Royal Variety Performance, reported Express. The Royal Variety Performance is an annual show that raises funds for the Royal Variety Charity and attended by senior members of the British royal family.

Invited to perform for the monarchy in 1962 alongside Presley were Bob Hope, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Eartha Kitt, and Cleo Laine on the London Palladium stage.

However, Presley likely never knew of the request. The invitation crossed the desk of Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who reportedly turned it down. According to Express, Parker was infamous for not letting Elvis leave the country. However, the colonel was an illegal immigrant from the Netherlands. He had no passport and feared leaving the United States and being unable to return.

Subsequently, one year after Presley’s invitation, The Beatles performed at the royal variety show. They sang “From Me to You,” “She Loves You,” “Till There Was You,” and “Twist and Shout.”

John Lennon made royal variety history when he suggested the following; “Those in the cheap seats should clap their hands; while the rest could just rattle your jewelry!”

Was Queen Elizabeth a fan of Elvis Presley?

The queen’s cousin Lady Elizabeth Anson spoke on the BBC Radio documentary Our Queen: 90 Musical Years. She claimed Elizabeth had “mainstream” musical tastes, reported The Independent. However, she did not cite Presley as a favorite of the late monarch.

“The queen loves the theatre and musicals like ShowboatOklahoma! and Annie Get Your Gun. These tunes remained in one’s head and were very danceable,” said Lady Elizabeth Anson. She also cited “Cheek to Cheek” by Fred Astaire, “The White Cliffs of Dover” by Vera Lynn, and several hymns.

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