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Eulogy Speeches, Examples-spacerSir Elton John's Musical Memorial for Diana

Goodbye England's Rose - Candle in the Wind, 1997

One of the most memorable eulogies in recent history was Sir Elton John's tribute to Diana, the Princess of Wales. During her funeral, on September 6, 1997, Elton John sang "Candle in the Wind", which he and writer Bernie Taupin had rewritten in honor of the late Princess. The touching and poignant rendition of the song was Sir Elton's way of expressing grief at the tragic death of his good friend.

Diana's funeral was not the usual stuffy British funeral. It was a heartfelt goodbye to the Princess, with prayers, readings, songs and music. Among those who paid their respects to Diana and who said their prayers for her were the Archbishop of Canterbury, Diana's brother Earl Spencer who said the eulogy, Diana's sisters, the Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair and the Abbey choir. 

Goodbye England's rose;
May you ever grow in our hearts.
You were the grace that placed itself
Where lives were torn apart.
And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind:
Never fading with the sunset
When the rain set in.
And your footsteps will always fall here,
Along England's greenest hills;
Your candle's burned out long before
Your legend ever will.

"Candle in the Wind" was not the only piece of music to be played or sung during the funeral, but it was the only song included that was written in her memory. The song was sung by the composer himself, a close friend of the late Princess, in a heartrending way that struck a chord of sympathy and grief within all those who heard the song. The song also offered some measure of comfort to the loved ones she left behind. Those who never met Diana and heard Sir Elton sing would have felt for those who knew Diana and would be most affected by her loss.

Crowds of mourners surrounded the Abbey, keeping to a respectful silence as they bid goodbye to the Princess. Thousands lined the streets were the funeral procession passed toward her final resting place at Althorp. Millions more watched the funeral on television. It was Sir Elton's song that those who attended and watched her funeral will remember as Diana's song. Despite several requests for Sir Elton to perform this version of the song, he has constantly refused to do so. He says that he will perform the 1997 version only if requested by Diana's sons. Prince William and Prince Harry. He has only sung the original version of the song since the funeral, having performed it only once. The original song was written as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe.

Diana's sons are preparing a concert in memory of their mother on what would have been her 46th birthday this year, 10 years after her death. Prince William and Prince Harry intend this concert to be a celebration of the life of the late Princess of Wales. While Sir Elton John has been confirmed to be one of the performers, it remains to be seen if he will sing the song he last sung during Diana's funeral.

When Sir Elton performed in Westminster Abbey, it was more moving than the speeches since music appeals to the emotions and not to the intellect. At a funeral, emotions hold sway. A song is more memorable than any speech, since people would sing a song over and over again, but would not make the same speech somebody else gave. Every time somebody sings or plays this song, it is, in part, a way of remembering Diana. However history might portray Diana, she will always be associated with this song.

Watch Video: Princess Diana Funeral - Elton John "Goodbye England's Rose"

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