Elton John to deliver HIV lecture in remembrance of Princess Diana

The 71-year-old icon has agreed to deliver the lecture when politicians, health workers, celebrities and other people living with HIV will be in attendance.

FILE: Diana, Princess of Wales, poses on 15 November 1992 at the Quai d’Orsay in Paris during a three-day visit in France. Picture: AFP

LONDON - Sir Elton John has agreed to deliver the Diana, Princess of Wales Lecture on HIV, which is to be staged in London on 8 June.

The 71-year-old icon - who was a close friend of the British royal - has agreed to deliver the lecture when politicians, health workers, celebrities and other people living with HIV will be in attendance.

John - who established his own Aids foundation in 1992 - said: "I am delighted to be able to deliver this lecture and to remember the enormous contribution Diana, Princess of Wales made to this cause. In the quarter-century since the Elton John Aids Foundation was established, the global Aids fight has changed beyond recognition. Yet tolerance and courage has never been more important in that fight. We need to remember what is important if we are going to be successful."

The _Rocket Man _hitmaker will be following in the footsteps of Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, and US President Bill Clinton, who previously had the honour of delivering the lecture in Diana's memory in 1999 and 2001, respectively.

John will use the platform to detail his ambition of an Aids-free future, while he will also touch on his close friendship with Diana, who died in a car accident in Paris in September 1997.

Deborah Gold, the chief executive of the National Aids Trust, which launched the lecture in 1999, said it will be an "honour" to have John deliver the lecture.

She explained: "2018 is a critical time in the global HIV epidemic. We have all the tools we need to beat HIV, yet we lack the level of investment or political priority necessary to use them fully.

"We are delighted that Sir Elton John, who has enormous credibility in this battle, will be speaking on this subject."

He performed a memorable rendition of _Candle in the Wind _in tribute to the Princess at her funeral in 1997, and the chart-topping star was also a guest at her son Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle earlier this month.