Legendary singer Shirley Bassey admits she broke protocol while accepting award from King Charles

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Shirley Bassey was so nervous when she picked up an honour from King Charles, she “forgot to curtsy”.

The 87-year-old singer was made a Companion of Honour by the monarch at Windsor Castle on Tuesday and she admitted she was more scared of accepting the accolade — which has previously been awarded to the likes of David Attenborough and JK Rowling — than she’s been about singing for the royal family.

“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 said.

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“I forgot to curtsy, but that’s why I grabbed his hands because I forgot to curtsy. Instinctive.”

The Diamonds Are Forever singer — who was joined at the ceremony by her daughter Sharon, grandson Sebastian and great-granddaughter Sofia — was aware she “shouldn’t” have broken protocol.

“I asked how he was, and he said he was fine and said, ‘You look wonderful’,” she said.

“He wished me all the best and then I grabbed him — I know I shouldn’t have done that. But I grabbed both his hands and said, ‘I wish you well’.”

Bassey believes the most glamorous moment of her life was the first time she sang for the late Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Variety Performance.

“I’ve had 70 years of glamorous moments,” she said.

“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 blase about it.”

Shirley Bassey is made a Companion of Honour by King CharlesShirley Bassey is made a Companion of Honour by King Charles
Shirley Bassey grabbed the King’s hands ‘because I forgot to curtsy’ at her investiture. Credit: AAP

Bassey — who received her damehood in 1999 — previously admitted she had been “truly humbled” to be awarded the Companion of Honour.

“As a little girl growing up in Tiger Bay, I would dream of travelling the world and never imagined that one day my voice would take me to where I am now,” she said.

“Entertaining audiences for over 70 years has been a privilege. My heart is full of emotion and I am truly humbled.”


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