He described her as ‘queen of all my dreams’ in his song Diana, declaring ‘The day that he married you, I nearly lost my mind’.
Now Bryan Adams has spoken for the first time about his friendship with the late Princess Diana, revealing it was sparked by her amusement at the lyrics he wrote about her.
The Canadian singer, now 64, was rumoured to have embarked on an affair with Diana in the 1990s, speculation which grew after his ex-girlfriend Cecilie Thomsen said publicly that ‘ours was a stormy relationship and Bryan’s affair with Diana didn’t make it any easier.’
Diana meeting Bryan Adams after a pop concert in Vancouver during her 1986 tour of Canada
When Diana met the man who wrote a song proclaiming his love for her
Bryan Adams, Elton John and Ringo Starr sing together at a concert for the Prince’s Trust
But speaking recently, he avoided addressing the rumours, instead painting a picture of a touching friendship in which the pair ‘had a lot of really, really good conversations’ after meeting on a plane.
He told her he had used her name in a song and she replied: ‘Yes, I know, very funny. Actually I’d like to hear it again.’
He sent a copy to Kensington Palace and she invited him round for tea.
‘In fact it’s strange and surreal to think about. I really, really liked Diana, she was an amazing woman and a super-great inspiration,’ he said during the interview with the Sunday Times.
‘Meeting her was truly one of the greatest things that ever happened to me.’
Adams, best known for hits including Everything I Do (I Do It For You), Summer of 69 and Heaven, was one of several major pop stars who got to know Diana before her death in 1997.
A huge music fan whose love of pop began during her time at West Heath boarding school in Sevenoaks, Kent, she was delighted that her position as Princess of Wales gave her the opportunity to mingle with many of her idols, from Duran Duran to Elton John.
Duran Duran were famously her favourite group and she was believed to have danced in front of her mirror at Kensington Palace listening to their hit Girls On Film on her Sony Walkman.
She attended a string of their live shows and met them several times. At Diana’s memorial concert in 2006, Simon Le Bon said: ‘We are honoured that she always referred to Duran Duran as her favourite band as she was certainly our favourite princess.’
One of the band’s gigs, at London’s Dominion Theatre in 1983, could have ended in disaster due to an IRA plot to assassinate the princess and her then husband Prince Charles, but the man due to install the gelignite bomb was actually a police informant who foiled the plan.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Duran Duran’s bassist said: ‘They wanted to kill Diana and Charles and everybody in the room. It was so shocking. We were only made aware of it years later, but it was very frightening.’
Last year, Taylor also revealed that the band’s music was a passion Diana shared with her two children.
Princess Diana laughing with Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran at the Royal Premiere of a View to a Kill
Charles and Diana attend the Prince’s Trust Rock Gala at the Dominion Theatre in 1983
Princess Diana went backstage and shook hands with Andy Taylor after the Gala finished
Princess Diana meets Simon and Yasmin le Bon at the Help a London Child’Charity Appeal at the Cafe Royal in 1991
Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran performs on stage at the Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium which Princes William and Harry organised in 2007 to celebrate the life of their mother
William and Harry chat to Simon le Bon and Nick Rhodes after the Diana concert in 2007
‘When we met William and Harry, they said, ‘Oh, we used to sit in the back seat and mum would play Wild Boys and we’d sing along,’ he recalled.
‘That stuck with me, that the little boys would be going ‘Wild Boys!’ and that would be a moment for them.’
George Michael was another star with whom she shared a deep bond. The last series of The Crown features two of his songs – Fast Love and Spinning the Wheel – reflecting her longstanding friendship with the former Wham! star, who died in 2016.
The pair – two of the biggest celebrities of their time – first met in 1985 at the Live Aid concert at Wembley.
She reportedly had a crush on Michael and told him she found him ‘very gorgeous’, to which he responded: ‘Thank you ma’am – you’re pretty smashing yourself.’
According to Michael’s biographer James Gavin: ‘Thus began the awkward 12-year friendship between a smitten aristocrat and a closeted sex idol.’
The pair called each other ‘darling’ and Michael gave her a gold watch.
In 2011, he spoke of their relationship, saying: ‘I think we clicked in a way that was a little bit intangible, and it probably had more to do with our upbringing than anything else.
She was very like a lot of women that have been attracted to me in my life because they see something non-threatening.
Maybe because I take care of my sisters and I’m so protective of my sisters, women seem to smell that.’
Princess Diana meets George Michael, k.d. Lang and Mick Hucknall at the World Aids Day annual Concert of Hope at Wembley Arena in 1993
Diana and George at A Concert of Hope the following year
Princess Diana met George Michael for the first time at the Live Aid Concert in 1985
He also suggested Diana would have liked the friendship to turn romantic, despite him being gay:
‘There were certain things that happened that made it clear she was very attracted to me. There was no question,’ he said, adding that they were never intimate as ‘I knew it would be a disastrous thing to do.’
He was devastated after her death in the Paris car crash in August 1997. Speaking after her funeral, he said it reminded him of the death of his mother, Lesley, six months earlier.
‘I bawled my eyes out. It was almost like I was reliving my mum’s funeral,’ he said.
It’s impossible to think about Diana’s funeral without recalling Sir Elton John’s moving performance of Candle in the Wind, with new lyrics written especially for her.
They met for the first time at Prince Andrew’s birthday party in 1981, and Sir Elton was struck by what he described as her ‘incredible social ease, an ability to make people feel totally comfortable in her company.’
The night Elton and Diana met at Prince Andrew’s stag do
Diana, Princess of Wales with singer Elton John at a television awards ceremony in 1993
Elton John chatting to Princess Diana when she attended a charity performance of Tango Argentino in aid of National Aids Trust at London’s Aldwych Theatre in 1991
Elton’s moving performance of ‘Candle in the Wind’ at Diana’s funeral
They ‘immediately clicked’ and became firm friends. At Gianni Versace’s funeral just weeks before Diana’s own death, she was photographed leaning over to comfort Sir Elton, although he later claimed that what she’d actually said was, ‘God, I’d love a Polo.’
Just six weeks later he was devastated again when he learned of her fatal car crash.
It was Sir Richard Branson who, with the blessing of the Spencer family, approached Elton with the idea of rewriting his 1973 song Candle in the Wind – originally about Marilyn Monroe – for Diana’s funeral.
The opening lyrics were changed from ‘Goodbye Norma Jean, though I never knew you at all’ to ‘Goodbye England’s rose, may you ever grow in our hearts’ – ensuring Diana would be remembered as England’s rose.