Why Dolly Parton Declined Princess Kate's Invitation for Tea

“I thought it was very sweet and nice of her to invite me and one of these days I'm going to get to do that," the Queen of Country said. 
Why Dolly Parton Declined Princess Kate's Invitation for Tea
From Omar Vega/FilmMagic.

As we’ve all been well aware since November 1980, Dolly Parton has a very strict working schedule: As she has informed the world in her very catchy single, business shall be conducted from “9 to 5.” (What a way to make a living, etc.) And those hours are not flexible, not even for the one and only Princess Kate.

In a recent interview with BBC Radio 2, according to the Daily Mail, Parton revealed that she had traveled to London for work, and that her schedule had been totally packed. So packed that not only did she not have time to get her tourist on, but she had to turn down a royal invitation.

“This time, Lordy, I even got invited to have tea with Kate but I couldn't even go,” the 77-year-old said. “I thought it was very sweet and nice of her to invite me and one of these days I'm going to get to do that—that would be great.”

But, again, Parton didn’t achieve legend status without keeping her eye on the prize: “But she wasn't going to promote my rock album so I had to say no,” she joked.

And yes, you heard that right: The country music legend is releasing a rock album. It’s her 49th studio album, but her first in the rock category. Titled, appropriately enough, Rockstar, the disc is slated for a November 2023 release, and the 30-title tracklist has already been revealed. Parton included nine original tracks and 21 covers and duets of classic tracks, from her own version of “Wrecking Ball” featuring goddaughter Miley Cyrus, the song’s original performer, “Every Breath You Take” with Sting, and even “Stairway to Heaven,” which, the listing notes, “(Feat. Lizzo and Sasha Flute).” She’ll even fulfill the classic concert request to “play ‘Free Bird’!”—with Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington, Artimus Pyle, and the Artimus Pyle Band, no less.

The album makes good on a comment that Parton made last year, when she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, despite previously asking not to be considered.

“People usually [say] ‘Dolly rocks’ or ‘you rock’ or ‘you’re a rock star,’” she said. “I thought they just meant that I was cool, and I took that as a great compliment. But now I’m going to have to take it literally!”

She promised “to earn my title,” and even said, “Now I may have to call my album Rockstar!”

And lo, Dolly spoketh, and the world obeyed: One year later, in May 2023, she announced the album. One of her wishes from that prophetic Hall of Fame rumination, however, remains unfulfilled.

“I’ve always wanted to do the song ‘Satisfaction,’” she said at the time. “That’s one of my husband’s favorite songs. And I may have to drag Mick [Jagger]’s guys up there to help me sing it. I’m hoping we’re both around long enough when I get to doing this record that he’ll come sing with me, and I may have to use The Rolling Stones to play behind me.”

Well, Jagger is still around, and Parton is doing “Satisfaction” on the album, but she’s accompanied by Brandi Carlisle and Pink on the track, not the Stones. It would appear that she tried and she tried and she tried and she tried, but she couldn’t get no.

We can only imagine that Princess Kate and the lonesome empty place setting at her tea party can relate.

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