Following in the wake of the unexpected passing of British superstar George Michael, stories of his life and heroes have emerged, including how he felt about his friend Diana, Princess of Wales.
Both George and Diana came into the public eye at the same time, which created a bond, though George wished it had been closer. Of the princess he said: ‘Diana was the only person that I knew who made me feel like an ordinary person. That’s what I thought was so amazing about her.’
He added: ‘I could have kept in a lot more contact with her because we really got on well. But I was always reluctant to call her up. It was almost like a mate of mine who doesn’t want to call me up too much in case it looks strange – because he thinks that everybody else is calling me up…It was the same equation with Diana and I. She meant so much to so many people, including me.’
George attended Diana’s funeral with their long-time mutual friend, Elton John, who famously performed the touching tribute Candle in the Wind. George recalled that he was deeply emotional at the service.
He said: ‘I had forgotten my hanky and I was really streaming. I was one of the few people in that part of Westminster Abbey that was really blubbering and I remember thinking: “God, this is going to be really embarrassing”.’
Diana’s loss in 1997 came on the heels of an extremely difficult time for the singer who had had to say goodbye to his beloved mother Lesley earlier in the year.
‘It was almost like I was reliving my mum’s funeral’ George said. ‘It wasn’t as if I didn’t get upset at her funeral but it was just too soon after her death, maybe it hadn’t sunk in.’
Reflecting on his relationship with his mother George observed that: ‘My mum was a great mum. She wasn’t the perfect mother when I was younger. She was a woman with her own problems. But I can honestly say that over the last 15 years of her life, she was absolutely the perfect mother…There was never a bad word between us. There was never a moment that I didn’t feel she supported me. Because that kind of love is unconditional. I’m very lucky to have had that with my mum.’