CANDLE in the Wind almost wasn't performed at Princess Diana's funeral – over Palace concerns it was "too sentimental", newly-unsealed documents reveal.
Royal officials are now known to have feared that the poignant song, which was Number One for 14 consecutive weeks after Diana's tragic death, wouldn't be fitting for the service.
Instead, it was hoped that Sir Elton – a close friend of the princess – would perform Your Song.
However, the Dean of Westminster personally appealed to aides – and the singer's emotional performance became one of the most memorable moments of the service.
Papers released by the National Archives suggest there was resistance to the song being used, and Westminster Abbey even arranged for a young saxophonist to be put on standby to deliver a solo instrumental version instead.
But the Very Rev Dr Wesley Carr successfully argued that allowing Sir Elton to appear would be an "imaginative and generous" gesture to the public.
In a note to a senior member of the royal household, Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Ross, Dr Carr wrote: "This is a crucial point in the service and we would urge boldness.
"It is where the unexpected happens and something of the modern world that the princess represented.
"I respectfully suggest that anything classical or choral (even a popular classic such as something by Lloyd Webber) is inappropriate.
"Better would be the enclosed song by Elton John (known to millions and his music was enjoyed by the princess), which would be powerful.
"He has written new words to the tune which is being widely played and sung throughout the nation in memorial to Diana. It is all the time on the radio.
"Its use here would be imaginative and generous to the millions who are feeling personally bereaved: it is popular culture at its best.
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"If it were thought the words too sentimental (although that is by no means a bad thing given the national mood), they need not be printed – only sung.
"I would be prepared to discuss the significance of this suggestion over the phone with anyone."
Diana and her lover, Dodi Fayed – son of Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed – died in a car crash in Paris on August 31 1997.
The tragedy, just a year after Diana and Charles' divorce was finalised, prompted a huge outpouring of public grief.
Candle in the Wind became the second biggest-selling physical single of all time, after Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, selling 33m copies.
Elsewhere, it was revealed that No10 feared then-PM Tony Blair would be forced to publicly address privacy by French president Jacques Chirac.
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In a telephone call with Blair, Chirac proposed “tightening existing privacy law” on photographing celebrities and royals.
Downing Street officials instructed the Foreign Office to warn them if it got wind that the French intended to make an announcement on the issue.
Blair “agreed that public feeling would be running high, but (deliberately) made no commitment to look at the UK privacy laws” wrote his private secretary, Angus Lapsley.
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