Sir Elton John and the late Princess Diana met at an event at Windsor Castle in 1981 and quickly became good friends. In fact, they spent much of their first meeting befriending their love of dancing the Charleston. However, after years of harmonious friendship, the couple had a major falling out over a professional collaboration.
In the singer’s 2019 autobiography Me, Elton Johnhe reveals he stopped talking to the royal when she pulled out of writing ahead to Rock and Royalty — a fashion photography book by Gianni Versace to raise money for the John’s AIDS Foundation. The coffee table book featured photos of semi-nude men – something that apparently concerned Diana.
“She got cold feet,” John writes. “I think Buckingham Palace didn’t like the idea of a member of the royal family having anything to do with a book that featured photos of naked guys with towels draped around them.”
According to the singer, Diana dropped the project at the last minute, saying she was unaware of the contents of the book. John recalls: “I wrote back, calling her, telling her how much money she had cost the AIDS Foundation and reminding her that she had seen the book.”
John was furious, but began to worry that Diana was “losing touch with all kinds of very close friends” and “instead surrounding herself with people who told her what she wanted to hear”. He notes, “I knew from personal experience that this was not a healthy situation.”
The duo didn’t speak to each other again until months later, when their mutual friend Versace was gunned down on his doorstep. Diana called John at her vacation home in Nice the same day. “I’m so sorry. It was a silly falling out. Let’s be friends,” she said, according to her book.
But when Diana comforted John at Versace’s funeral, he had no idea it would be one of their last moments together. Appearing on Lorraine in 2018, he described their last summer together. “Gianni Versace was murdered, then Diana called me and we made up,” he recalls. “And six weeks later, I’m in the same house, and she’s dead. It was an amazing and fascinating summer, and I couldn’t believe what was happening.