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Bassey: Receiving King’s Honour is More Nerve-Racking Than Singing for Him

Dame Shirley Bassey has confessed that she was more anxious about receiving an honor from King Charles than performing for him. The esteemed Welsh singer, who is 87, collected her latest royal award at Windsor Castle.

Dame Shirley was made a Companion of Honour in the New Year Honours list for her contributions to music. She had previously been honored with a damehood in the 1999 honors list.

This distinguished musician, who met Charles for the first time as King, shared her feelings about the experience. “I think it’s more nerve-racking to receive the award from him than to sing in front of him. I mean, it’s new, different, whereas singing I’ve been doing since I was a child,” she admitted.

While the event brought nerves, a moment of spontaneity also slipped in. “I forgot to curtsy, but that’s why I grabbed his hands because I forgot to curtsy. Instinctive,” she explained. During their brief encounter, King Charles complimented her sparkly black and white Isabell Kristensen dress. She recounted, “I asked him how he was, and he said he was fine and said: ‘You look wonderful.’”

In a heartfelt gesture, Dame Shirley expressed her well-wishes to the King. “I grabbed both his hands and said: ‘I wish you well,’” she recalled.

Despite the public acclaim, being dubbed an icon has its downsides. “It can be very nice, and it can be very isolating and a nuisance – especially if you’re in a restaurant and people come and sit at your table uninvited,” she noted.

Reflecting on her career, Dame Shirley identified her most glamorous moment as the first time she performed for the late Queen at the Royal Variety Performance. “I’ve had 70 years of glamorous moments,” she mused. “I think the first time I sang for the Queen at the Royal Variety – my very first show. And then I did quite a few after and was very blasé about it.”

When asked about her favorite diva of all time, she named Madonna. “I’d love to say Ella Fitzgerald, but she wasn’t a diva, she was so nice. Feet on the ground, she was so comfy, nothing diva-ish about her. Who was a diva? I’d have to say Madonna,” she said.

Though she never met Maria Callas, Dame Shirley acknowledged the opera legend’s diva status. “I think she was an original diva. I would have loved to have met her. I loved her voice,” she added.

Dame Shirley’s favorite room service order speaks to her luxurious tastes: “pink champagne and caviar.” She even divulged that this would be her choice for a last meal.

In a playful moment, she revealed that if she were an accessory, she would be a diamond. “Diamonds – diamonds are forever. I say diamonds because my birthstone is so horrible. It’s a bloodstone, January. It couldn’t even be ruby,” she explained.

Source: Various sources