Elton John is remembering Queen Elizabeth II. Shortly after the long-reigning monarch’s death on Thursday (Sept. 8), the “Bennie and the Jets” singer shared kind words about the queen with his Instagram followers.
“Along with the rest of the nation, I am deeply saddened to hear the news of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s passing,” the 75-year-old singer wrote. “She was an inspiring presence to be around, and lead the country through some of our greatest, and darkest, moments with grace, decency and a genuine caring warmth.”
John added, “Queen Elizabeth has been a huge part of my life from childhood to this day, and I will miss her dearly.”
Queen Elizabeth II died at 96 at the Balmoral Castle in Scotland, the Royal Family announced earlier in the day. Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband — also known as the Duke of Edinburgh — died on April 9, 2021.
John has had several encounters with the royal family during his career. In addition to being close friends with Princess Diana, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1998 for his work in music and philanthropy across the decades, making him the first openly gay musician to receive an honor of that caliber.
The pop icon spoke lovingly of Queen Elizabeth in his 2019 memoir, Me, in which he recalled a moment where he witnessed the monarch playfully slapping her nephew Viscount Linley for failing to check on his sister, who had fallen ill at the party they attended. Queen Elizabeth noticed John observing the exchange, and gave him a knowing wink.
“I know the Queen’s public image isn’t exactly one of wild frivolity, but … in private she could be hilarious,” John wrote in the book.
Read John’s statement about Queen Elizabeth II below.