Fans and celebrities gather at Graceland to praise Lisa Marie Presley

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Lisa Marie Presley, a singer-songwriter and the daughter of Elvis Presley, was remembered during a funeral service Sunday as a loving mother and “old soul” who endured tragedy but a dedicated protector of her father’s legacy endured as a rock ‘n’ roll pioneer and pop icon.

More than a thousand people gathered on the front yard of Graceland on a gray, cool Memphis morning to mourn the death and remember the life of Lisa Marie Presley, who died Jan. 12 after being rushed to a hospital in California had been brought.

Some mourners held flowers while waiting for the service to begin under the tall trees on the lawn of Graceland, the Memphis home where Lisa Marie lived with her father as a child. The mansion that belonged to Lisa Marie Presley has been turned into a museum and tourist attraction, which hundreds of thousands of fans visit each year to celebrate the life and music of Elvis, who died in 1977 at the age of 42.

The south Memphis estate was a place of sadness and somber memories on Sunday. The service began with the singing of “Amazing Grace” by Jason Clark & ​​The Tennessee Mass Choir.

“We want to express our sincere gratitude for the love, compassion and support you have shown our family during this difficult time,” read a message from the Presley family, written on the program for the service. “We will always be grateful.”

Among those who spoke during the service were Lisa Marie’s mother, actress Priscilla Presley; Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York; Jerry Schilling, a close friend of Elvis; and former Memphis Mayor AC Wharton, who called Lisa Marie’s parents the royal couple of Memphis and a “channel to the throne, the keeper of the flame.”

In a soft voice, Priscilla Presley read a poem by one of Lisa Marie’s three daughters, Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood, entitled “The Old Soul,” in which she described her mother as “an icon, a role model, a superhero to many people.” called all over the world.”

“In 1968 she entered our world, born tired, fragile and yet strong. She was delicate but full of life,” Priscilla Presley read. “She always knew she wouldn’t be here for very long. Childhood passes with a look at her green eye. Then she started her own family.”

After reading the poem, Priscilla Presley said, “Our hearts are broken. Lisa, we all love you.”

Axl Rose performs during a memorial service for Lisa Marie Presley on Sunday, January 22, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Axl Rose performs during a memorial service for Lisa Marie Presley on Sunday, January 22, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Music punctuated the service. Billy Corgan, lead singer of The Smashing Pumpkins, played acoustic guitar and sang “To Sheila”; Alanis Morissette sang “Silence”; Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses played piano and sang “November Rain”; and The Blackwood Brothers Quartet performed two songs.

After the service, mourners walked through Graceland’s meditation garden, where she was buried in an above-ground grave alongside her son Benjamin Keough, who died in 2020, her grandparents and great-grandmother.

Wreaths and bouquets of red, white, yellow and pink flowers lined the path to the tomb and the tomb itself. Fans, some with tears in their eyes, slowly walked past the tomb and paused to pay their respects.

Jordan Clark, 25, traveled from Mobile, Alabama to attend the service. She called the ceremony special and heartwarming. Clark said Lisa Marie had “been through a lot” in her life and equated the service to the time Elvis died when “people came from all over”.

“She was born into publicity, born into fame. It’s hard for some people,” Clark said. “She handled it like a champ. I think.”

Lisa Marie was 9 when her father died. She was residing at Graceland at the time and would recall him kissing her goodnight hours before he died. The next day she saw him, he was lying face down in the bathroom.

After her father’s death, she became the sole heir to the Elvis Presley Trust, which — along with Elvis Presley Enterprises — managed Graceland and other assets until she sold her controlling interest in 2005. She retained ownership of the mansion itself, the 13 acres around it and items in the house.

A representative for Elvis Presley Enterprises told The Associated Press that the mansion is in a trust that will benefit their children. Along with Harper, she is survived by two other daughters – Riley Keough and Finley Aaron Love Lockwood.

Riley Keough, an actor, did not speak at the service. Her husband, Ben Smith-Petersen, read a statement in which she recalled that Lisa Marie had taken her to eat ice cream, brought her tea service from Cracker Barrel, and left notes in her lunch box.

“Thank you for giving me strength, my heart, my empathy, my courage, my sense of humor, my manners, my temper, my ferocity, my tenacity,” Riley Keough said in the statement. “I am a product of your heart.”

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