Elton John’s Your Song was originally scheduled for Diana’s funeral | Diana, Princess of Wales

Westminster Abbey originally expected Elton John to sing Your Song at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, rather than Goodbye England’s Rose, his rework of Candle in the Wind, which features newly released records.

An early draft commission included the lyrics of Your Song, although it was incorrectly called Our Song. A second draft made by the Dean of Westminster Abbey, Dr. Wesley Carr, sent to Buckingham Palace for approval, replaced Candle in the Wind.

In the draft, Carr said that “boldness”, the “unexpected” and “something of the modern world” should be included and suggested “anything classical or chant (even if a popular classic like something from [Andrew] Lloyd Webber) is inappropriate ”.

Something from John, a favorite of Dianas and “folk culture at its finest,” wrote the dean would be better, adding: “If the words were too sentimental (although that is by no means bad given the national mood) they don’t have to be printed – just sung . “

Elton John performs a rewritten version of Candle in the Wind in tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales at her funeral on Nov. Photo: PA

John previously said that he and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin redesigned Candle in the Wind at the suggestion of Richard Branson. It became the second largest physical single of all time after Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, selling 33 million copies.

The circumstances of Diana’s death raised concerns within No. 10 that Tony Blair could be induced to publicly address the “sensitive” area of ​​privacy and media intrusion of Jacques Chirac, as the National Archives documents show.

In a phone call with Blair, then French President Chirac suggested “tightening data protection law,” which led Downing Street officials to instruct the Foreign Office to warn them if it emerged that the French were making an announcement about this Wanted to make topic.

Chirac told Blair that Diana and Dodi Fayed’s deaths in a car accident after being chased by paparazzi “challenged the entire media intrusion problem and he suggested that it be done”. [Blair] that they are considering a tightening of the existing data protection laws ”, it says in a letter No. 10 to the Foreign Office.

Tony Blair and Cherie Blair attend Diana's funeral for Diana at Westminster Abbey, London.
Tony Blair and Cherie Blair attend Diana’s funeral at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Mike Forster / Daily Mail / Rex / Shutterstock

The Prime Minister “agreed that public opinion would rise but made (deliberately) no obligation to look at UK data protection laws,” wrote Blair’s private secretary Angus Lapsley. But if the French government made such an announcement, “it would pose a sensitive issue in dealing with the UK government’s stance on media intrusion,” the letter continued.

“The Prime Minister would therefore be grateful if you could endeavor to warn us as early as possible of any signs that the French are indeed about to make an announcement.”

Downing Street’s view was that stricter legislation was not the answer and that the greatest impact would come from a change of heart of the media itself, as briefing documents from the National Archives show.

Hillary Clinton leaves Westminster Abbey after the <a class=memorial service for Diana, Princess of Wales.” src=”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/28e4c1cbf7bf9f82e31b7fa9f5f6cdd7a73a71c2/124_0_1776_1065/master/1776.jpg?width=445&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=7406b3d34499d334a4247eab0e0be124″ height=”1065″ width=”1776″ loading=”lazy” class=”dcr-1989ovb”/>
Hillary Clinton leaves Westminster Abbey after the memorial service for Diana, Princess of Wales. Photo: Santiago Lyon / AP

Downing Street was also relieved when Hillary Clinton, the first lady at the time, changed her mind about attacks on the media at a press conference in London prior to the funeral. Blair’s chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, wrote to press officer Alastair Campbell, who scribbled “good” on the memo: “Your personal inclination is to attack the press, but your co-workers prevent you from doing so.”

When the conspiracy theories about the involvement of British security and intelligence in the deaths persisted, Labor MP Lindsay Hoyle, who had tried unsuccessfully to ask questions on the matter, wrote to Blair asking him to make a public statement on the rumors .

Lindsay Hoyle
Lindsay Hoyle was branded a “publicity lunatic” by Official No. 10. Photo: Tony Harris / PA

Hoyle, then the newly elected MP from Chorley and now the Speaker of the House of Commons, was given a post-it note by an official to reply to no. The Foreign Office feared Hoyle would forward any response to the media and a public statement “out of the blue” by Blair would revitalize conspiracy theories, another memo showed.

Blair, advised by his private office to “be clear and definitive,” wrote in a personal letter to Hoyle: “Any suggestion that any British official organization or department had anything to do with this tragic event is both. “Ridiculous and deeply stressful for those left behind.”

Before Diana’s funeral, Conservative leader William Hague called Blair unsuccessfully to postpone the referendum on Scottish decentralization as national mourning had suspended the election campaign. “This inevitably means that the referendum campaigns will effectively stop and then only three days will remain for the Scottish campaign. This cannot be considered satisfactory in any way, ”wrote Hague.

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