‘The song was magical’
In the run-up to the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, members of the Royal family have opened up about their relationship with the late Princess, including Princes William and Harry speaking about the last phone call with their mother, and Prince William laughing about the practical joke his mother played on him.
Now Richard Branson, a friend of hers, has also revealed some unexpected news: that he was the one who gave Elton John the idea to re-write Candle In the Wind for Diana’s funeral.
We’re all familiar with how the famous song was completely rewritten in 1997 (the original version aired in 1997 and was an homage to Norma Jean, aka Marylin Monroe) in tribute to the Princess, with lyrics including ‘Goodbye England’s Rose’, ‘You were the grace that placed itself where lives were torn apart’ and ’This torch we’ll always carry of nation’s golden child’.
The song was played by Elton John at Diana’s funeral and was also re-released in stores, with proceeds from the sale going to Diana’s favourite charities.
But who knew Sir Richard Branson was behind the whole idea? The tycoon made the revelation on the radio show he hosts on smoothfm, saying he wanted something positive to come our of his friend’s death.
‘I rang Elton John and said how about re-writing Candle in the Wind and I’ll try to get the Archbishop to accept it into the funeral service, which he did. The song was magical,’ he said.
He decided to launch the album on his own music label, Virgin Records, to ‘raise millions and millions’ for ‘her good causes’.
Apparently, Richard and Diana became friends after the Princess and her sons holidayed on Necker Island in the 90s.