LONDON – Princes William and Harry are planning a charity “super concert” to honor the memory of their late mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
The event is envisaged for July 1 next year at the new Wembley stadium. The date would have been her 46th birthday and comes a few weeks before the 10th anniversary of her death on Aug. 31.
Although the concert and its line-up have not been confirmed, fans of the princess are likely to wonder whether Elton John will reprise "Candle in the Wind," which he sang at her funeral.
Other stars that are being considered include Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue and George Michael. The princes are expected to be on hand to host the event in front of a worldwide television audience likely to reach hundreds of millions.
The new Wembley is still being completed at a cost of some 800 million pounds but is due to be opened for the FA Cup final in May. It has been plagued by delays.
Paddy Harverson, the Prince of Wales’s communications secretary, said a formal announcement would be made on the concert before the end of this year.
“The princes are considering a number of possible options for how they would like to remember their mother,” Harverson said. “This is just one possibility among several and I would not like to go into any more detail while discussions are ongoing.”
Managers at Wembley, which will be the largest roofed stadium in Europe, hope the concert will boost the venue’s profile in its launch year and give a positive worldwide image for British engineering in advance of the 2012 London Olympics.
John’s performance at Diana’s funeral on Sept. 6, 1997, watched by more than 1 billion people worldwide, provided one of its most memorable moments. "Candle in the Wind" went on to become the greatest-selling CD single of all time.
However, the princes are said to want the concert to be an “upbeat, joyous tribute” to their mother’s life and work, with any proceeds going to a selection of charitable organizations.
Diana’s best-known campaigns included work to ban landmines and help counter prejudice against AIDS victims.
Centrepoint, the homeless charity, was also a favorite of the princess and could receive a portion of the proceeds, although her sons have yet to decide which charities would benefit.
The princes’ plans are understood to have the full backing of their father.
Diana died following a crash in the Pont de L’Alma road tunnel in Paris along with Dodi Fayed, the son of Mohamed al-Fayed, the owner of Harrods and Fulham football club.
Henri Paul, the driver of the Mercedes car, was also killed but Fayed’s bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, who was the closest to the point of impact, survived. He was the only occupant of the car wearing a seatbelt.
William and Harry are said to be keen for the anniversary to be a celebration of Diana’s life rather than a reason to dwell on the continuing controversy surrounding the fatal crash. However, interest in her death is set to be revived in the next few months.
Shortly before Christmas, Lady Butler-Sloss, a former lord justice of appeal who is to conduct the inquests into the deaths of Diana and Dodi, will receive a report into the incident being prepared by Lord Stevens, the former Metropolitan police commissioner.
Stevens’s inquiry is piecing together some 20,000 documents and 1,500 witness statements. After reading his report, Butler-Sloss will decide whether to hold joint or separate inquests. Hearings are expected to begin early in the new year.