Harris, 82, an Australian, who is one of Britain’s most-loved performers, bravely sang his hit song about two mates who go to war, to fill an unexpected gap in the live proceedings. Wearing a Union Flag shirt he painted himself, he was stopped by host Lenny Henry so he could introduce the next act, Stevie Wonder.
However, Harris continued with his performance and finished the final line as the crowd booed comedian Henry. Even Princess Anne was spotted singing along with the crowd during Harris’s solo rendition.
Piers Morgan took to Twitter to lambast the host, saying: “Still seething about Lenny Henry wrecking Rolf’s big moment like that – who the hell does he think he is?”
Another user tweeted: “Not impressed by the shafting of Rolf Harris. Get some respect.”
Twitter user Caffy wrote: “Lenny Henry, how dare you interrupt Rolf Harris!?”
As Rolf neared the end of his song, Henry interrupted and said: “You have got to stop because they are ready, I can only apologise.”
Rolf responded: “I thought you wanted me to sing.”
Earlier in the evening, Harris paid a tribute to the Queen, marking 60 years on the throne without her husband Prince Philip, who had been taken to hospital that day with a bladder infection.
Gesturing to his patriotic shirt as he came onto the stage, he told the crowd: “’G’day – do you like the shirt? I painted it the other night.”
He added: “What an absolute pleasure for me to be here. I’m absolutely thrilled. I moved to England 60 years ago so my time here has completely overlapped the Queen’s reign. I think she’s looking better than me, by the way.”