Lionel Richies sweet nod to Diana when he met William

King Charles and Camilla meet Lionel Richie at garden party

Music legend Lionel Richie is just one of the acts taking to the stage tonight for the lavish Coronation Concert.

However, it is far from his first encounter with the British Royal Family and in fact their relationship spans almost four decades.

Lionel and the late Princess Diana first crossed paths during his concert in London in 1986.

The singer and his then-wife, Brenda Harvey, gifted the princess two leather jackets for her sons Princes William and Harry who were four and two respectively at the time.

19 years later in 2015 the singer recalled that encounter and touchingly dedicated Diana’s favourite song to Prince William.

He was performing in Alexandra Palace, at a fundraiser for the charity Jewish Care.

As he played the opening notes to his number one hit Hello, he explained the poignant connection to Diana.

“Many years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Princess Diana and tonight we have Prince William here,” he said.

“I must tell you it is a pleasure to be with all of you but especially this gentleman, because his mother came to me … and she said ‘my favourite song is Hello’,” he revealed.

“So, I thought tonight the dedication is to you, my friend,” he said.

William later thanked Lionel for his kind words and “giving your time to entertain us.”

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Lionel also has a connection to the newly crowned King Charles having worked for many years as the founding Global Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust.

Last month he sang the monarch’s praises in an interview with E! News at the Breakthrough Prize ceremony.

“I’m very happy for him,” Lionel said. “He’s kind of waited in that second position for a very long time.

“And I think what we’re gonna get now is the new version of the royal family.

“I’m looking forward to see what he’s going to bring to the table, and I can tell you right now, he’s gonna change it up a little bit.”

He also spoke to Entertainment Tonight at the event teasing the preparation involved in tonight’s show, saying: “There’s more secrecy than you’ve ever imagined in your life.

“I know what I’m going to do but when you ask, ‘What is everyone else going to do?’ Nothing!

“’Who is everybody else?’ ‘Hmmm.’ ‘OK, well, what’s the production going to be like?’ [No response],” he explained.

“So we won’t really know until we get there for the rehearsal to find out exactly how big.”

“And, by the way, I’m going to use that word ‘huge.’ Not just big, [it’s going to be] off the charts,” Richie intimated.

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