Princes hold birthday concert to honor Diana
LONDON – Waving their arms in the air and dancing with 70,000 fans at London’s Wembley Stadium, princes William and Harry celebrated the life of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 46th birthday Sunday at a concert they organized.
William, 25, rocked his hips as Canadian pop star Nelly Furtado belted out her song “Man Eater” – to the embarrassment of younger brother Harry, who shook his head and laughed.
Harry, 22, said they asked Elton John to play “Candle in the Wind,” the song he sang at Diana’s 1997 funeral in Westminster Abbey. Originally about Marilyn Monroe, its lyrics were reworked in tribute to Diana and became a worldwide No. 1 hit that same year.
“This evening is about all that my mother loved in life: her music, her dance, her charities, and her family and friends,” William told the crowd.
Diana died Aug. 31, 1997, along with boyfriend Dodi Fayed and their driver when their Mercedes crashed inside the Pont d’Alma tunnel in Paris.
Security for the event was increased after the discovery of two unexploded car bombs in central London on Friday and an attack on Glasgow airport on Saturday. At least 450 officers patrolled the concert.
The concert mixed rock, pop, hip hop and classical ballet and featured some of Diana’s favorite acts, including Duran Duran and Tom Jones.
In honor of her love of dance and theater, there was a performance of an segment from “Swan Lake” by the English National Ballet and songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Among the 24 performances were songs by Rod Stewart, Kanye West, Joss Stone, Lily Allen and Sean “Diddy” Combs, who performed an emotional rendition of “Missing You” – a cover of The Police’s 1983 “Every Breath You Take.”
Ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair was among those who recorded a video greeting. His message was booed as he appeared on screen, but the crowd cheered when he paid tribute to William and Harry – the second and third in line to the British throne, respectively.
“I know their mother would be very proud of them,” Blair said.
William’s former girlfriend Kate Middleton attended the concert, fueling rumors that the couple, who announced their split in April, have reconciled.
William said the concert was a chance for people to “remember all the good things about her (Diana) because she’s not here to defend herself when she gets criticized.”
Tickets for the concert cost $90 with proceeds going to causes Diana supported.
A memorial is also planned in London on Aug. 31, the anniversary of Diana’s death.
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