Dolly Parton said meeting Queen Elizabeth was the 'biggest thrill' of her life

16 September 2022, 17:32

Almost by chance, Dolly Parton crossed paths with Queen Elizabeth II in 1977.
Almost by chance, Dolly Parton crossed paths with Queen Elizabeth II in 1977. Picture: Getty

They're both queens in their own right.

And although they were from incredibly different worlds, Dolly Parton would cross paths with Queen Elizabeth during her storied career.

Few country stars would ever get the opportunity to meet Her Majesty, likely because of conflicting schedules and distance to travel.

But by chance, Dolly would be able to meet the British monarch in an experience she called "one of the biggest thrills of my life".

Even at that time in her career she admitted to not having got starstruck by other celebrities or icons, but that that completely changed when she met Queen Elizabeth in person.

It evidently had a huge impact on Dolly, as she remained a huge admirer of the Queen and her dedication to her work.

Dolly was one of the first major stars from overseas to pay tribute after Her Majesty passed away on 8th September 2022, posting a picture of the time they met back in 1977.

Scheduled to perform across Europe in a series of concerts, her manager at the time - Sandy Galin - had a huge surprise for the singer.

She'd be performing as part of Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee celebrations, marking her 25th year on the throne, and Dolly couldn't contain her excitement.

“They kept it a surprise from me until I was on the flight over,” Parton recalled in a recent interview.

“When they told me on the plane I was appearing in front of the queen, I just jumped up and down telling everyone. It’s just one of the biggest thrills of my life."

"When I was a little girl I grew up in a world of kings and queens and princes and princesses in fairy tales. Now I was going to meet one."

Dolly would meet Her Majesty alongside other major stars such as Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5, Ronnie Corbett, David Soul, and comedian Frankie Howard.

Dolly Parton would meet Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Gala during her Silver Jubilee celebrations, 30th May 1977. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Dolly Parton would meet Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Gala during her Silver Jubilee celebrations, 30th May 1977. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images). Picture: Getty
Dolly in 1977 after performing for Queen Elizabeth II. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Dolly in 1977 after performing for Queen Elizabeth II. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

Dolly even credited the experience to her crossover success, as she managed to reach a wider audience than the country fans that already adored her.

But it wasn't her performance in front of Her Majesty that left the greatest impression on Dolly, rather what would happen after.

She would meet both Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, backstage in a moment she'd never forget.

"That was a great moment, I thought," Dolly recalled in an interview from 2022.

"It's like I'm not a star worshiper, but as a kid, I was always intrigued by the kings and queens, and I always loved the magazines and the books and their costumes and all."

"Of course, they weren't like the old kings and queen of the old stories, but it still had that romantic feeling to me to think, 'That's the Queen of England.'" she continued.

Nearly a half of a century later, Dolly connected with Her Majesty once again for her 70th anniversary celebrations.

She appeared in a special televised event marking the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in June of 2022, in which she congratulated her for the incredible work she's done throughout her life on the throne.

"I want to congratulate you on your Platinum Jubilee and your 70th year as monarch. I just wanted to say thank you for being wonderful." Dolly gushed.

"You are more than pearls and you are more than platinum. You have been a shining diamond in this world for so long, and everybody loves you."

Finishing with the chorus to one of her trademark songs, Dolly signs off with: "And I will always love you, too."

When she was due to leave the United Kingdom and return across the Atlantic, Dolly told Time Magazine: "I don’t want to leave the country. I want to take the country with me."

The experience clearly made a huge impression on Dolly Parton, and she made it obvious in her vocal affection for Her Majesty throughout the years.