At her father’s iconic estate Graceland in Tennessee Sunday morning, friends and family members gathered for a memorial service to honor Lisa Marie Presley, who passed away at 54 on January 12.
Presley was laid to rest on Thursday next to her son, Benjamin Keough, in Graceland’s Meditation Garden.
Joel Weinshanker, film producer and managing partner of Elvis Presley Enterprises, opened the service by passing along Presley’s wishes for her own service: “Don’t make it sad.”
The former Mayor of Memphis, AC Wharton, explained, “Before Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan had Jack, before Goldie [Hawn] and Kurt [Russell] had Wyatt, before Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet had Zoe, before Jay Z and Beyonce had Blue Ivy, and long before Harry and Meghan had Archie, in this city, our own royal couple, Elvis and Priscilla had our own princess, Lisa Marie.”
He called her the “keeper of the flame,” and “this city’s precious jewel.”
Lisa Marie’s friend and former musical collaborator, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan took the stage, clad in a dark shirt and black suit to perform on an acoustic guitar, his song “To Sheila.”
Following the performance, Presley’s close friend Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, explained they called each other “Sissy,” calling it a “great honor” to celebrate this “extraordinary” woman. Ferguson added of Queen Elizabeth II, “My late mother-in-law used to say, ‘Nothing could take away these moments, because grief is the price we pay for love."”
Alanis Morissette then took the stage in a long, black coat, and performed “Rest,” accompanied by a piano.
Priscilla Presley chose to let her granddaughter’s written words speak for her, reading a poem her granddaughter wrote, called “The Old Soul.” It touched on the heartbreak Presley endured when her son Benjamin took his own life in 2020. “…Survivor’s guilt some would say, but a broken heart was the doing of her death,” Priscilla said.
Axl Rose then addressed the assembled mourners next, commenting in part, “I feel like I’m supposed to be texting her like right now saying I’m here, telling her how wonderful everyone is. I never in a million years expected to be singing here, especially not in these circumstances.”
Rose went on to express how much Presley loved Baz Lurhmann‘s Elvis movie and Austin Butler‘s performance. “Lisa’s loved and missed by many, and will continue to be loved and missed by all those whose lives she touched,” Rose said, before performing the Guns N’ Roses song “November Rain” on piano.
The Blackwood Brothers Quartet then followed with “How Great Thou Art,” and Jason Clark and the Tennessee Mass Choir closed out the ceremony.
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