Book reveals George Michael’s guilt over snubbing Prince William at Christmas
George Michael always felt guilty over the way he treated a young Prince William at Christmas.
Princess Diana had invited the “Careless Whisper” singer to an intimate bash at Buckingham Palace in 1990. That’s when the older of her two sons came up to Michael and requested he play a song with Elton John.
“The prince, then 8, approached him, [and asked] ‘Would you sing a song and Uncle Elton play the piano?'” author James Gavin writes in the biography “George Michael: A Life,” out Tuesday.
But Michael — who only knew Diana and John at the party — declined.
“[William’s] little Christmas smile disappeared,” Michael later recalled. “I can’t believe I said no to the future king of England but I really was too embarrassed to sing in front of strangers.”
He admitted to Piers Morgan the rejection was “excruciating” and a “very awful thing to have to do” to the young prince.
Years later, perhaps in an attempt to make amends, the Wham! alum recorded a version of Stevie Wonder’s “You and I” for William’s nuptials to Kate Middleton. The couple tied the knot on April 29, 2011, at Westminster Abbey in London.
The song was available to download from Michael’s website, but the singer asked that listeners donate to the couple’s Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund. William and Kate had asked guests and the public to give to a variety of chosen charities instead of sending them wedding gifts.
Michael did not attend the wedding, saying the couple should be “surrounded by people they love, not dodgy ex-con pop stars.”
Despite Diana’s invitation to the Christmas bash, the “Faith” singer had a complicated relationship with the Princess of Wales.
During his trial against Sony Music in 1994, “he received matchless consolation in the form of calls and occasional meals with the Princess of Wales … She and Michael were close in age and had become famous at approximately the same time,” Gavin writes. “Michael called her ‘my darling’ and even gave her a gold watch.”
Still, he kept Diana at a distance and rarely called her, as he “didn’t want it to seem as though he were badgering one of the most pursued women alive.” Michael, who was gay, also believed that the princess harbored a crush on him.
The singer died on Christmas Day 2016 at the age of 53, from heart failure and a fatty liver brought on, in part, by drug use. Princess Diana was killed in a car accident on Aug. 31, 1997, at age 36.