Were The Queen And Elton John Actually Friends?

Sir Elton John is probably the most famous English singer and pianist of our time. Since making his debut in the music industry in the late '60s, the legendary composer has had a highly decorated and lauded career spanning over 50 years. John has also worked with so many other known artists, most notably for several of his classic duets. As a result, he has quite the list of famed friends. But he's been famous for so long that he also has friendships with prominent people beyond the entertainment industry. One of those close associations led him to form several bonds at Windsor Castle — the home of none other than the queen of England.

It all started in the '70s when John was invited to a dinner party at the castle, reports Time Magazine. His inviting hosts (Queen Elizabeth's mother and sister Princess Margaret) were huge fans of the singer, per Biography. He revisited the royals several times over for other occasions, and he was invited to perform at Prince Andrew's birthday party in 1981. That year, the young prince was turning 21 years old, and John was interacting with several members of the family at the event. One of them was Princess Diana, who would go on to have a well-known and documented friendship with the singer. He also had an encounter with the monarch herself, Queen Elizabeth II.

His relationship with the royals

At the same 1981 party, Elton John had a brief interaction with the queen that he recalls in his 2019 autobiography, "Me." In the book, he mentions her unique sense of humor. "I know the queen's public image isn't exactly one of wild frivolity, but ... in private, she could be hilarious," John noted (via Smooth Radio). He described seeing the queen playfully slap her nephew, Earl of Snowden, across the face after he ignored her requests to tend to his ill sister during the party. John says after the hilarious slap session, her nephew left to do as he was told, and the queen gave him a gesture of approval. "As he left, she saw me staring at her, gave me a wink, and walked off," he said.

He also got to share a dance with the queen and her sister that night to the '50's rock 'n' roll hit song, "Rock Around the Clock" (via Biography). John described the encounter as a surreal moment in his life, per the Daily Express. Yet, John was much closer to Princess Diana and maintained a very close friendship with her until her death, even growing close to her son Prince Harry.

It's not clear just how close John was to the queen, but they were indeed friends and even lived nearby each other. The location of John's U.K. home (Woodside) makes him neighbors with the residents of Windsor Castle, per Architectural Digest.

Elton John is one of millions mourning the loss of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022, after a 70-year reign, and Elton John was one of the millions left mourning the immense loss. On the evening of the queen's passing, John performed one of his songs, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," in tribute to her. Prior to the song, John addressed the crowd saying (via Rolling Stone), "I'm 75, and she's been with me all my life, and I feel very sad that she won't be with me anymore, but I'm glad she's at peace, and I'm glad she's at rest, and she deserves it. She worked bloody hard. I send my love to her family and her loved ones, and she will be missed. But her spirit lives on. And we'll celebrate her life tonight with music."

John also shared a tribute to the queen on social media after her passing. "Along with the rest of the nation, I am deeply saddened to hear the news of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's passing," he said, per Rolling Stone. "She was an inspiring person to be around — I've been around her and she was fantastic. She led the country through some of our greatest and darkest moments with grace, decency and a genuine care and warmth."

There isn't any doubt that after John's experiences with the queen and his closeness to the royal family compared to most, the impact of her death is difficult to bear. John is one of many celebrities that have expressed their sorrows over Queen Elizabeth II's passing and reminisced on the memory of her majesty.