Celestina’s extraordinary voice was apparent from an early age. Disappointed to learn that there was no such thing as a wizarding stage school, Mrs Warbeck reluctantly consented to her daughter’s enrollment at Hogwarts, but subsequently bombarded the school with letters urging the creation of a choir, theatre club and dancing class to showcase her daughter’s talents.
Frequently appearing with a chorus of backing banshees, Celestina’s concerts are justly famous. Three devoted fans were involved in a nasty three-broom pile up over Liverpool while trying to reach the last night of her Flighty Aphrodite tour, and her tickets often appear on the black market at vastly inflated prices (one reason why Molly Weasley has never yet seen her favourite singer live).
Celestina has sometimes lent her name and talents to good causes, such as raising funds for St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries with a recording of Puddlemere United’s anthem ‘Beat Those Bludgers Back, Boys, and Chuck that Quaffle Here’. More controversially, Celestina was vocal in her disagreement when the Ministry of Magic sought to impose restrictions on how the wizarding community was allowed to celebrate Hallowe’en.
Some of Celestina’s best-known songs include You Charmed the Heart Right Out of Me and A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love. Her fans are usually older people who love her grandstanding style and powerful voice. The early 21st-century album You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart was a massive global hit.
Celestina’s personal life has provided much fodder for the gossip columns of the Daily Prophet. An early marriage to a backing dancer lasted only a year; Celestina then married her manager, with whom she had a son, only to leave him for the composer Irving Warble ten years later.
Celestina is one of my favourite ‘off-stage’ characters in the whole series, and has been part of the Potter world ever since its inception, making an early appearance in the short-lived ‘Daily Prophet’ series I produced for members of the equally short-lived fan club run by my British publisher, Bloomsbury. Although we never lay eyes on Celestina during the whole seven volumes of the Potter books, I always imagined her to resemble Shirley Bassey in both looks and style. I stole her first name from a friend with whom I worked, years ago, at Amnesty International’s Headquarters in London; ‘Celestina’ was simply begging to be scooped up and attached to a glamorous witch.