Boy George says Princess Diana hailed him a “true survivor” after he recovered from heroin abuse.
The Culture Club singer, 62, was exposed as a user of the drug in the mid-1980s and his addiction problems came to haunt him again in 2005 when he was arrested in New York on suspicion of possessing cocaine.
George – real name George O’Dowd – says in his new memoir he was comforted by Diana, who died aged 36 in a 1997 Paris car smash, when they spoke at a charity event she attended.
He said in ‘Karma: My Autobiography’: “I met Princess Diana twice. The first was at the Hippodrome at a charity event. “I had just gotten over a very public heroin addiction and my reputation was ragged.
“I wasn’t in the official line-up of guests, but nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow whispered in my ear: ‘Princess Diana wants to meet you.’
I was with Mum and she said: ‘Go on, meet her.’ I went upstairs and stood in line with the other guests, but a palace official shooed me away: ‘You’re not on the list. Stand aside.’
“So I went over to the bar and ordered a drink. After shaking hands with everyone, the princess broke protocol and approached me. She was very sweet and complimented my outfit, which was a Judy Blame coat and hat covered in silver safety pins.
“‘Wow, that must have taken for ever,’ she said.
“‘I didn’t do it myself, love,’ I told her.
“I asked her if she would meet Mum and she said: ‘Where is she?’ They spent 10 minutes chatting. She told Mum I was a true survivor.”
George added about his second meeting with the royal: “I met Diana again at a Capital Radio charity lunch and she sat facing me and had the vegetarian option because I was vegetarian.
“Wayne Sleep (the dancer) was animated and kept falling on to her shoulder. “She looked at me, smiled and shrugged her shoulders. I think Wayne was later led away.”
George’s 2005 charge for cocaine possession was eventually dropped but the singer-songwriter was given community service in 2006 after pleading guilty to falsely reporting a burglary at his apartment in New York City.
He was ordered to sweep rubbish from the street for a week as part of his duties.
The ‘Karma Chameleon’ singer also hit rock bottom in December 2008 when he was convicted for the assault and false imprisonment of male sex worker Audun Carlsen, and ended up doing four months behind bars for the crime.