Lisa Marie Presley buried at Graceland near the two men she adored
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE: Lisa Marie Presley has been laid to rest, over a week after her death. On January 22, the singer, who was the only child of Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley, was buried at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, and remembered during a public tribute. Lisa Marie had long been a living link to Elvis for dedicated fans, who adored his only child.
Hundreds gathered to bid goodbye to Lisa Marie on the same lawn where she had done a ceremonial cake cutting earlier to commemorate her father's 88th birthday. She was laid to rest beside her late son, Benjamin Keough, whose grave was also located near Elvis.
Who performed at the memorial and what did they say?
Lisa is survived by her mother, Priscilla Presley, 77, who made a brief appearance at the Sunday, January 22, morning service. She read a poem prepared by one of Lisa Marie's three surviving children. "I have no idea how to put my mother into words," Priscilla read. "Truth is, there are too many. Lisa Marie Presley was an icon, a role model, a superhero to many people all over the world." She also thanked everyone who had offered support to the family in the wake of her daughter's death. "Our heart is broken, Lisa. We all love you," Priscilla said.
Several of Lisa's celebrity acquaintances attended the tribute, including Austin Butler, who plays Elvis Presley in the film 'Elvis', Smashing Pumpkins lead Billy Corgan, and Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose, who sang 'November Rain' and spoke movingly at the funeral. "I feel like I'm supposed to be texting her like, right now, saying 'I'm here,' telling her how wonderful everyone is," Axl stated in his speech. "I never in a million years imagined singing here and especially under these circumstances." He added further, "Lisa is loved and missed by many and will continue to be loved by all those whose lives she touched," as reported by E News.
Lisa Marie had given precise instructions on this day, according to Elvis Presley Enterprises managing partner Joel Weinshanker, including "don't make it sad." "Lisa, we will try to honor you and honor your wishes," he said, as reported by USA Today.
Ben Smith-Petersen, the husband of Lisa Marie's daughter Riley Keough, read a letter titled "A Letter to My Momma" that his wife penned to her mother. "Thank you for being my mother in this life. I'm eternally grateful to have spent 33 years with you. I'm certain I chose the best mother for me in this world, and I knew that as far back as I can remember you." Keough remembered listening to Aretha Franklin in the van, buying ice cream after school, and Lisa Marie singing lullabies to her and her brother. Smith-Petersen read, "I remember how it felt to be loved by the most loving mother I've ever known. I remember how safe it felt to be in your arms. I remember that feeling as a child and I remember it two weeks ago on your couch. Thank you for showing me that love is the only thing that matters in this life."
Jerry Schilling, an Elvis Presley family friend and lifelong business partner, claimed to have spent Christmas in 1967 at Graceland. Just as he was ready to leave for Los Angeles, Elvis questioned him, "You're not going to stay for the birth of our daughter?" He thus remained till Lisa Marie was born on February 1, 1968. "We got back to the house here. And I had never held a baby before. And we're in the kitchen. And Elvis just hands me Lisa and I sure as hell wasn't going to drop her. And that was the beginning of my journey" with her, he said. "Memphis, I will always love you," Schilling added.
AC Wharton, former Memphis mayor, said, “Lisa Marie’s birth is woven into the institutional memory of this city." "Elvis may have been born in Tupelo and Priscilla may have started in Dallas," he said. "But Lisa Marie was all Memphis. She belonged to us. And we belonged to her." "She was a conduit to the throne, the keeper of the flame. She was the image of a king," he added.
The Duchess of York, Prince Andrew's ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, said those who cared about Lisa Marie ought to "to stoke our flames within" to support her family and celebrate her life. Austin Butler and director Baz Luhrmann were present at the service in addition to Presley's relatives, speakers, and performers.
Fans were led through the Meditation Garden to pay their respects after the service. The garden also serves as the final resting place for several other Presley family members, including Gladys Presley, Vernon Presley, and Minnie Mae Presley. More than 100,000 people from all over the world tuned in to watch the service live and left comments of love and support.