It has been held up as one of the most glittering events in the summer’s social calendar.
But Elton John’s lavish charity garden party, the White Tie and Tiara Ball, has been cancelled this year – amid fears that it was losing its social cachet.
For the past 15 years, Sir Elton, 67, has entertained A-list stars including Sharon Stone, Bill Clinton and Catherine Zeta-Jones at his £20million Windsor mansion.
Thanks to tickets costing up to £10,000 and a competitive charity auction, the ball has raised more than £50million for his Aids Foundation.
But some have claimed the event has begun to lose its appeal in recent years, attracting only minor celebrities such as Peter Andre and Kerry Katona.
In 2010 – when it had a Gaga in Wonderland theme in tribute to the American singer Lady Gaga – there were reports that 450 guests had bought their invitations through ticketing agencies.
A year later, Sir Elton was forced to sue one of his guests after he allegedly failed to pay the £700,000 he bid at the charity auction in return for a day out with the singer and his husband David Furnish. The dispute was later resolved.
And in 2012, the ball reached new lows when Dame Shirley Bassey reportedly complained that the toilets were blocked, with guests comparing the ball to the muddy Glastonbury music festival.
A source told the Daily Mail: ‘While Elton and the team put in a huge amount of work and enjoyed it, they realised there are other ways to raise funds and they wanted to stop before it became a joke.’
Last night, the Elton John Aids Foundation said it had decided to give the White Tie and Tiara Ball a ‘break’, and said it would hold two alternative fundraisers over the summer and in September.
It is understood the September garden party – which will also be held at Sir Elton’s home – will be smaller than the annual June ball it replaces and is expected to have a far more restricted guest list.
But Sir Elton’s spokesman claimed the ball had been cancelled only because of a clash with tour dates, adding: ‘There’s a huge event in September. It will be the same people, the same thing, just not the White Tie, that’s all.’
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