When Jon Bon Jovi performed a short set at the Centrepoint Gala Dinner at Kensington Palace in 2013, he invited a very special guest to join him onstage. As the New Jersey-born singer strummed the opening chords of his band’s classic hit “Livin’ on a Prayer”, he made a suggestion. “Just maybe,” he said, “the karaoke kid could come up and sing a few words.” It emerged that the “karaoke kid” he referred to just happened to be Prince William, a patron of the homeless charity Centrepoint.
Meeting some resistance from the prince, Bon Jovi was persistent. “You’re gonna come up for the chorus,” he insisted. He sang the first verse of a stripped-down version of his signature song. To the crowd’s delight, a shy William was led onto the stage by none other than Taylor Swift. Suddenly, two global superstars of the music world and a member of the royal family were about to collaborate on one of the most famous songs in rock history.
William and Swift flanked Bon Jovi, and as the chorus began, they joined in with backing vocals. Initially, a visibly nervous William couldn’t be heard, but Swift beckoned him closer to the microphone. As the song went on, the prince grew in confidence and let his singing be heard. It helped that he was duetting with Swift, one of the most acclaimed singers on the planet. As the song ended, William took Swift’s hand, and they made a graceful exit from the stage.
Afterwards, William credited this moment as helping his confidence levels. He admitted that he was deeply uncomfortable taking to the stage and only did so after being urged to do so by Swift. Such were his nerves, he also forgot the lyrics to the song, despite it being a favourite of his. However, the experience was one he was glad to have had. It taught him that he didn’t need to worry so much about his image and that sometimes “making a fool of yourself is OK.”
Bon Jovi’s massive hit, “Livin’ on a Prayer”, was first released in 1986 and was the band’s second US Billboard Number 1 hit. It has remained hugely popular ever since and has been viewed over 1.1 billion times on YouTube. To add to its many other accolades, this memorable performance at the Kensington Palace saw the song get the royal approval most spectacularly.