14 Unlikely Royal Friendships That Will Surprise You
Who does the British royal family like to hang out with? Their choice of pals is often unexpected.
James Blunt and Prince Harry
When the “You’re Beautiful” singer showed up at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, the Internet was abuzz. One Twitter user wondered who invited him. “I’ll give you two guesses,” Blunt quipped back. For some reason, people don’t understand how the two became friends—another Twitter user asked who invited Blunt to perform at the 2016 Invictus Games, to which Blunt responded, “Prince Harry. By text. Boom!” In reality, Harry and Blunt bonded because they both served in the same regiment in the British Army.
Princess Diana and Elton John
You might know that singer Elton John sang “Candle in the Wind,” his ballad originally about Marilyn Monroe, at Diana’s funeral with revised lyrics about the late princess. But how did the two get to be friends? Elton and Diana first met in 1981 when he played at Prince Andrew’s birthday party. They became close but later had a falling out. Thankfully, they reconciled before her death—and ironically, Diana comforted Elton at the funeral of his friend, fashion designer Gianni Versace, just a month before her own. “Playing at [Diana’s] funeral was one of the most surreal things I have ever done,” Elton said in an interview. “What was going through my mind was ‘Don’t sing a wrong note. Be stoic. Don’t break down and just do it to the best you can possibly do it without showing any emotion whatsoever.’” Read more on how Princess Diana really spent the final weeks of her life.
Queen Elizabeth and Billy Graham
If you watch the Netflix series The Crown, you may know that the Queen became friends with the Reverend Billy Graham, who died recently at the age of 99—and that storyline was based in fact. As head of the Church of England, the Queen is deeply religious and bonded with Graham over her faith. Their friendship lasted for decades. “No one in Britain has been more cordial toward us than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” Billy Graham wrote in his autobiography, Just As I Am. “Almost every occasion I have been with her has been in a warm, informal setting, such as a luncheon or dinner, either alone or with a few family members or other close friends.” Read more fascinating facts—and a few scandals!—about Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen Victoria and Abdul
The modern royals aren’t the only ones to have surprising—and sometimes shocking—friendships. A century and a half ago, Abdul Karim arrived from India to be a servant to the aging and lonely Queen Victoria. He became a trusted advisor, teacher (or munshi) and confidant to the monarch, much to the dismay of the royal household. The relationship lasted until her death in 1901 when her children had him sent back to India and their letters destroyed. But, Karim’s long-lost diary was rediscovered by author Shrabani Basu, who penned a book, Victoria and Abdul, which was made into a movie in 2017. Find out more of the most shocking royal family feuds in history.