In exclusive extracts published by the Daily Mail, the songwriter detailed their first encounter, their fallout and reunion and even wrote about the time Richard Gere and Sylvester Stallone nearly fought each other for her attention.
In his book, John, 72, recalled meeting Diana for the first time at Prince Andrew's 21st birthday party in 1981.
After sharing a dance with Princess Anne and the Queen that had him questioning his place in Windsor Castle, he shared that his interaction with Diana was not the same.
"She was blessed with an incredible social ease, an ability to make people feel totally comfortable in her company," he wrote, explaining that Prince Harry, in particular, has inherited the same quality.
That night, John said, they pretended to dance the Charleston and the rest was history. Their friendship developed as "she was the she was fabulous company, the best dinner party guest, incredibly indiscreet, a real gossip."
The composer shared that the Princess was posthumously known for her “Diana effect,” which allowed her photo with an Aids patient at the London Middlesex Hospital to change her public attitudes towards the illness, but a particular incident would bring him a new definition for the term.
As John recalled, while he was making The Lion King, ,he and his husband David Furnish threw a dinner party for him the head of Disney, Jeffrey Katzenbergand his wife while they visited England. Thy insisted on meeting Princess Diana, so he invited her and few other notable names, including George Michael, Richard Curtis and his wife Emma Freud, Gere and Stallone, who were in the country at the time.
According to John, Gere, who’d just broken up with Cindy Crawford and Diana, who was separated from Prince Charles, immediately ‘seemed very taken with each other,’ as they sat in the front of the fireplace together and engaged in conversation. Meanwhile, John noticed ‘a strange atmosphere in the room‘ as Stallone’s jealousy began to take over.
’”Judging by the kind of looks he kept shooting them, Diana and Richard Gere's newly blossoming friendship was not going down well with Sylvester Stallone at all,” John wrote.
“I think he may have turned up to the party with the express intention of picking Diana up, only to find his plans for the evening ruined.”
As dinner was being served, both Gere and Stallone were missing from the table. He asked Furnish, 56, to find them, but upon returning with them both, the awkward situation in which they found was revealed.
“It transpired that he'd discovered Sylvester Stallone and Richard Gere in the corridor, squaring up to each other, apparently about to settle their differences over Diana by having a fist-fight,” he wrote.
After dinner, Diana and Gere resumed their position together in front of the fire, and Stallone stormed off home.
“'I never would have come,'”he snapped, as David and I showed him to the door, '”if I'd known Prince f***in' Charming was gonna be here.'” Then he added: “'If I'd wanted her, I would've taken her!'”
Diana, John said, was unfazed the whole time.
“Maybe she hadn't realised what was happening. Or maybe stuff like that happened all the time and she was used to it,” he reasoned.
Since that night, the “Diana Effect,” to him, was “one that could bring Hollywood superstars to the verge of a punch-up over her, like a couple of love-struck teenage idiots.”
In the memoir, John also broke down the happenings behind their temporary fall out.
The pianist said the Princess had agreed to write the foreword for a book Gianni Versace put together called Rock And Royalty, for which proceeds were going to the AIDS Foundation, but then she backed out.
“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 shots of naked guys with towels draped around them,” he wrote. “So, at the last moment, Diana withdrew her foreword. She said she had no idea of the book's contents, which just wasn't true: Gianni had shown her the whole thing and she had said she loved it.”
When he reached out to her to discuss the effects of her dropping out, she responded in a formal tone, addressing him as Mr. John.
“I was angry with her, but I was also worried. She seemed to be losing touch with all sorts of really close friends, who would be honest with her, and surrounding herself instead with people who told her what she wanted to hear,” he said. “I knew from personal experience that wasn't a healthy situation.”
The two didn't speak to her again until the day Versace was murdered when she apologized for the fall out and asked to rekindle their friendship.
After the funeral, they discussed her potentially becoming a patron of the AIDS Foundation and him getting involved in her landmine charity, but Diana died before they could talk about it in person.
John shared that he was asked to rewrite the lyrics “Candle In The Wind” and sing it at the Princess’ funeral. Though he got through the performance, it wasn't until after when he saw his husband watching the coverage on TV that he finally broke down.
The funeral version of the song went on to become the biggest-selling single since the charts began, but he felt really uncomfortable with the single’s longevity.
“Its success meant there was footage of Diana’s funeral week after week on Top Of The Pops — it almost felt like wallowing in her death, as if the mourning for her had got out of hand. I really didn’t think that was what Diana would have wanted,” John explained.
He added, “The Diana version of Candle In The Wind has never been included on any Greatest Hits album I’ve put out, and it’s never been re-released.”
Despite John's history with Diana, readers remember he was not invited https://radaronline.com/videos/elton-john-not-invited-royal-wedding/ to Prince Harry & Meghan Markle's wedding after the music icon famously attended Prince William and Kate Middleton’s nuptials.
“My heart sank when I saw those two boys walking behind the coffin,” Elton said after attending Kate and Will’s wedding in 2011 and recalling the last time he attended an event with the royals. “I thought that was the hardest thing, I can’t imagine at that young age having to walk in the public, following your mother’s coffin.”
“And the next time we’re in the Abbey it’s to see him walking up the aisle with a beautiful woman, the love of his life, I think it’s the most joyous result and I’m sure Diana would be very, very happy about it,” he said following the gorgeous ceremony.