‘Grief is the price we pay for love’: Tearful Sarah Ferguson quotes the late Queen as she pays tribute to Lisa Marie-Presley’s children – including her tragic dead son – at her service after the pair’s unlikely friendship is revealed
Ms Presley, the daughter of famed singer Elvis, died after suffering a cardiac arrest at her home in California aged 54 on January 12.
Thousands have gathered for her public funeral at the Graceland estate in Memphis today, where she will be buried alongside her father and son Benjamin, who died by suicide aged 27 in July 2020.
Fergie became a close friend after the pair met for the first time in the US in 2009, before Ms Presley attended the Duchess’ 50th birthday party at London‘s Lanesborough Hotel that same year.
Sarah Ferguson, 63, gave a touching tribute to her friend Lisa Marie Presley who died earlier this month aged 54
Lisa Marie Presley, 54, was last seen in public on January 10 (above) at the Golden Globes
Ms Presley also stayed at the duchess’s villa in Marbella to privately grieve the death of her ex-husband Michael Jackson.
Speaking at the service today, Fergie said it was a ‘great honour’ as she described Ms Presley as ‘extraordinary’.
She told mourners: ‘You talked about the flames and I think it’s time that we all need to stoke our flames within to do what Joel said, which was to celebrate the extraordinary Lisa Marie.
‘And I stand here with great honour because we called each other sissy and I’ve been with you being with you all for all your lives really. And I stand here with great honour.’
Fergie’s tribute comes after she took to Instagram to post a moving message about Ms Presley last week.
She wrote: ‘ ‘I say hello to you everyday and I love you my sissy and I will continue to say hello to you everyday.
‘You were my sissy, an amazing mother to Ben, Riley, Harper and Finley and a superbly loving daughter to Priscilla.
She added: ‘You have been my devoted friend for many years and I am here for your family to support and love them.
‘I am deeply saddened my sissy, you are in my heart.’
Ms Presley’s body was on display to the public during the celebration of life at the family’s estate, which was livestreamed at 9am central time.
Some mourners held flowers as they waited for the service to begin under the tall trees on the lawn of Graceland, the home where Lisa Marie lived as a child with her father.
Sarah Ferguson pictured in attendance at the funeral of her close friend at the Graceland estate today
Fans carried flowers as they stood behind a roped-off section at Graceland during the funeral service
Fans waited outside in Memphis with their phones at the ready for the memorial to begin earlier today
Jason Clark and The Tennessee Mass Choir opened the proceedings with a powerful rendition of Amazing Grace
The scene outside the Graceland gates in Memphis as the funeral took place on Sunday morning
Fans line up to enter Graceland for Ms Presley’s memorial service at the Graceland estate today
Fans cross Elvis Presley Blvd. to enter the main gate of Graceland ahead of the funeral service today
A fan gathers outside Graceland on Sunday to pay her respects to the princess of rock n’ roll earlier today
Fans gather to pay their respects at the memorial for Lisa Marie Presley at her funeral service in Memphis
A schedule of events for the public memorial service detailing performances by Alanis Morissette and Axl Rose, with eulogies from mother Priscilla and daughter Riley
The mansion, which Lisa Marie Presley owned, has been turned into a museum and tourist attraction that hundreds of thousands of fans visit each year to celebrate the life and music of Elvis, who died in 1977.
A procession was planned for fans to view her headstone, where they could leave flowers or other offerings.
Those in attendance included her daughter, actress Riley Keough, and her mother Priscilla Presley.
The ceremony also included performances by Alanis Morissette and Axl Rose.
Graceland’s 450-room hotel was now sold-out for the event, chief executive of Memphis Tourism Kevin Kane told the Times, while hotels near the museum and Beale Street ‘seeing an uptick in last minute reservations for the weekend.’
A stage was also constructed for the public service on the front lawn with a podium. Hundreds of seats were set out around it and screens were erected around the burial site.
Jason Clark and The Tennessee Mass Choir opened the proceedings with a powerful rendition of Amazing Grace.
Filmmaker Joel Weinshanker then said Ms Presley had requested that her funeral ‘not be sad’, before adding that they would try to honour her wish in the coming proceedings.
This was followed by Pastor Dwayne Hunt delivering a prayer, saying: ‘While her light has gone out, she leaves this light to her children and her mother so that they can rise above the darkness of this grief.
‘Let them be strengthened by the presence of the many who have gathered today to share their sorrow. Even in this time of pain, we are grateful for the beautiful gift that was Lisa Marie.’
‘Her passion, her strength, her brilliance and her tenaciousness. And let the memories share today and the word spoken today bring joy to our hearts.
‘May we all experience your peace in our pain, your healing in our hurt, your light in our darkness, in the name of this place where we stand in Graceland reminds us to be thankful for grace that gives us strength even in our weakness.
Pastor Dwayne Hunt speaks at the public memorial for Ms Presley earlier today, before delivering a prayer
An attendant holds programs as fans enter Graceland for the memorial service for earlier today
‘So, let immeasurable love abound in this place and make her peace abide in our hearts, Amen.’
The former Mayor of Memphis recalled the ‘hard times’ the city faced when Ms Presley was born in 1968, but pointed to how important her birth was at the time.
During his speech, AC Wharton said that prior to Beyonce and Jay Z having their daughter Blue Ivy and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex having their son Archie, Elvis and Priscilla had their daughter Lisa Marie.
As the only daughter of the King of Rock and Roll, he described her as ‘the conduit to the throne’ and ‘the keeper of the flame’.
Wharton added: ‘I don’t know much about Hollywood, I can’t speak for New York or any other city where Lisa may have spent time, but I can tell you that Lisa Marie was this city’s precious jewel.’
Billy Corgan then performed To Sheila by The Smashing Pumpkins.
Lisa Marie was married four times, firstly to guitarist Danny Keough who she met as a teenager at a drug rehabilitation centre and with whom she had two children – Benjamin and Riley.
She later eloped with Michael Jackson in 1994, with the marriage lasting a year and a half.
After being engaged to musician John Oszajca, the pair broke up and she married actor Nicholas Cage in August 2002 before filing for divorce three months later.
Her final husband was guitarist Michael Lockwood and the pair were married for 10 years from 2006, having two twin daughters.